EVERETT — The city is searching for ways to alleviate traffic backups that’ll come to well-traveled Mukilteo Boulevard with a $20 million bridge replacement.
About 6,000 cars cross the aging Edgewater Bridge at the western city limits adjacent to Mukilteo each day, according to a city report. Many of those drivers are commuting aerospace employees. Without any obvious detours in the area, traffic could stand still when the city breaks ground in November 2020.
Now, the Everett Public Works Department is seeking bids for an engineering firm to oversee the project. One question applicants need to answer is, “What do we do about Boeing traffic?”
“We do anticipate significant traffic impacts,” said Kathleen Baxter, a city spokeswoman.
Baxter said finding an alternate route for drivers is still an option, although it won’t be easy.
Mukilteo Boulevard is the sole road that connects the Boulevard Bluffs neighborhood with Everett and Mukilteo.
“It’s not an easy option, but it is an option,” Baxter said. “That’s one of beauties of the solicitation process.”
In August 2017, the city commissioned a study on the overpass by TranTech Engineering, a Bellevue-based firm.
The report dubbed the 73-year-old bridge “functionally obsolete, structurally deficient and seismically vulnerable.” In the case of a major earthquake, the structure is “at risk of total collapse.”
Baxter said the bridge is safe, with weight capacities in place for vehicles.
Other overpasses in the area may need to go, too. The Maple Heights Bridge by Harborview Park and the Merrill and Ring Creek Bridge just south of the park are also being targeted by the city.
The three structures are on Mukilteo Boulevard and connect most of those homes with the rest of Everett. If an earthquake hit, the bridges could fall and leave the neighborhood isolated.
Baxter said the city is prepared for any lost road access during an emergency.
Unlike the Edgewater Bridge, the Maple Heights project isn’t a complete rebuild, according to the 2017 engineering report. It was built in 1979 and will be retrofitted to withstand an earthquake. The renovation is estimated to cost about $1.6 million. Construction is expected to last from spring 2020 to the fall.
Once these projects are complete, Baxter said, the city will replace the Merrill and Ring Creek Bridge, just south of Harborview Park. While designs haven’t been drawn up yet, the city estimates the cost of the project at about $20 million.
Federal money will cover $12 million for the Edgewater project and $1.2 million for the Maple Heights Bridge. Money for the Merrill and Ring Creek structure hasn’t been allocated, yet.
Bids are due to the city for the Edgewater Bridge project by Sept. 3.