ARLINGTON — Highway 9 continues to be a poor choice as a detour for drivers trying to get around the I-5 bridge collapse and resulting traffic mess in Mount Vernon and Burlington.
A driver from Snohomish was injured Wednesday near Lake McMurray, just north of the Snohomish-Skagit county line, when he crossed the center line around a curve and struck a truck with two trailers.
No one was seriously injured. On Wednesday afternoon, traffic was backed up from the accident scene about four miles in both directions, officials with the Washington State Patrol said.
After the I-5 bridge collapsed over the Skagit River last week, the state pointed drivers to Highway 9, located east of I-5, as a primary detour route. However, the highway is tight and curvy. It is not OK for freight drivers, and is not a suggested detour, state Department of Transportation officials said.
Especially bad is the old, one-lane bridge over Pilchuck Creek north of Arlington. The Pilchuck Creek bridge was built in 1916. It is 17 feet wide and drivers take turns crossing it.
Construction on a wide $17 million bridge and highway realignment is under way. A 45 mph speed limit is enforced in the construction zone and a 25 mph curve speed limit is in place until the project is finished, probably next summer.