Highway 522 overpass to open

MONROE – A new overpass at Highway 522 and Fales-Echo Lake Road is set to open Thursday. The project is intended to ease congestion and increase safety on the highway.

“We should see quite an improvement on that highway out there,” said Dave Lindberg, a project engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The $37 million project, funded by the 5-cent gas tax hike in 2003, includes new exit ramps and a bridge, Lindberg said Wednesday.

Crews are still working on a traffic signal at the overpass, he said.

Having a traffic signal at the intersection is expected to improve traffic. About 27,500 vehicles used the intersection daily in 2003, according to the transportation department.

Since 1999, 25 injury accidents have occurred near the intersection, records show.

The new interchange has one lane for each direction. It could be widened to four lanes if more money becomes available, Lindberg said.

Highway 522 has needed improvement for a long time, said Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe.

“It’s among many (projects) we want to see done,” Pearson said.

In 2009, the state plans to begin a $110 million project to widen Highway 522 from U.S. 2 in Monroe to the Snohomish River bridge.

The new overpass and other improvements on Highway 522 would improve traffic on U.S. 2 as well, said Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser, who leads the U.S. 2 Safety Coalition.

“We think it’s all tied together,” Walser said.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or ynohara@heraldnet.com.

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