Grill officials about safety of I-5 cable barriers

MARYSVILLE – It may be a familiar scene – state officials being hammered with questions about the safety of cable barriers along a deadly 10-mile stretch of I-5 near Marysville.

State officials are expected to explain their latest plan to prevent crossover crashes along the freeway at a community meeting Friday in Marysville.

State officials will recommend installing a concrete barrier designed to stop vehicles while leaving one of two strands of cable barrier in place, said Doug MacDonald, secretary of the state Department of Transportation.

“The (concrete) barrier will be backup for the cable median barrier,” MacDonald said. “We want to set up the best system of protection.”

A total of eight people have died in crossover crashes along the Marysville stretch of I-5 since 2000. In each case, the cable barriers failed to stop vehicles.

The state paid out $2 million to the parents of a Bothell teen who was killed in an across-the-median crash. The state faces additional multimillion-dollar lawsuits from other families.

The state’s new plan could cost up to $28 million and could require the state to widen the freeway, said Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island.

The state plans on Monday to release the results of an out-of-state expert’s analysis of cable barriers. Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered the review in February after an Everett man was killed in a crossover crash.

Cliff Warren died shortly after the state installed a second strand of cable barriers in Marysville. The second strand was supposed to stop vehicles from slipping under the cables.

A 2005 analysis by The Herald showed that along a three-mile stretch on I-5 in Marysville, the barriers failed to stop cars in the median 20 percent of the time.

MacDonald said the study shows that cable barriers work well in most places the state has installed them.

He also said he thinks the anomaly in Marysville may be the result of numerous factors, including high traffic volumes, speeding and a large number of onramps and offramps.

The design and placement of the cable barriers are not the problem, he said.

“It’s a convergence zone. There’s an increased risk people will engage the barrier,” MacDonald said, adding that a more detailed explanation will be available in the report and follow-up meeting.

Haugen, the chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said she understands that people are eager to see what the report says and to learn more about possible solutions.

“People feel very passionate about this issue,” she said. “We can’t make those families who lost someone whole again, but we can preserve other families from such tragedies.”

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

Meeting Friday

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, has scheduled a meeting to discuss a report on cable barriers in the Marysville area, expected to be released by the state Department of Transportation next week.

The meeting is set for 1 p.m. Friday at the Cedarcrest Middle School cafeteria, 6400 88th St. NE, Marysville.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Crews will reduce lanes and eventually close northbound Interstate 5 between Everett and Marysville this week to work on a bridge overpass girder. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Overnight lane closures, I-5 detour set between Everett, Marysville

Crews need to replace a girder on the 12th Street NE bridge that was damaged by an overheight load in September 2021.

Mike Rosen
Businessman Mike Rosen announces campaign for mayor of Edmonds

Rosen, a city planning board member, is backed by five former Edmonds mayors. It’s unclear if incumbent Mike Nelson will run again.

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. After more than half a century, Boeing is rolling its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing’s last 747 to roll off the Everett assembly line

The Queen of the Skies was dethroned by smaller, more fuel-efficient jets. The last 747s were built for a cargo carrier.

PUD workers install new transformers along 132nd Street on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Electric vehicles spur big forecast jump for PUD demand

Not long ago, the Snohomish County PUD projected 50,000 electric cars registered in the county by 2040. Now it expects up to 660,000.

Traffic moves northbound on I-5 through Everett on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Grinding work still needed for I-5 through Everett

Construction crews need warmer temps for the work to remove what a reader described as “mini raised speed bumps.”

After a day of learning to fight fires, Snohomish firefighter recruit Chau Nguyen flakes a hose as other recruits load the hoses onto a fire truck April 19, 2018, at the training facility on S. Machias Rd. in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Lawsuit: Everett firefighter sexually harassed numerous recruits

Chau Nguyen resigned earlier this year, long after the first complaint about his behavior at the county’s fire training academy.

Jamie Haggard
Half-brother gets 15 years in dismemberment, leaving body near Maltby

After his conviction of second-degree murder, David Haggard still claims innocence in Jamie Haggard’s killing in 2016.

People work on the roof of the Stilly Valley Senior Center on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors evacuated from Stilly Valley Center housing due to roof damage

Residents said water damage issues began years ago. Mid-winter repairs forced them into hotels.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Trade in an unloaded gun for a loaded gift card in Mukilteo, Everett

Mukiteo’s Gun Buyback is Saturday. Everett has $25,000 to give out at its exchange Dec. 17.

Most Read