Highway 9 widening project continues

Question: Are there any plans in the next one to three years to expand Highway 9 through Snohomish at Marsh-Airport Road? The highway is consistently gridlocked during rush hour in that location.

I live in Lake Stevens and commute to Woodinville everyday, and would like to see Highway 9 large enough to support all of the north-south traffic it will see in the next 20 years.

Matt Granard, Lake Stevens

Answer: Over the past 15 years, the population of Snohomish County has increased by 37 percent and traffic volumes have increased by 50 percent. This growth has led to more congestion and collisions on Highway 9 and we are working to improve the highway to accommodate traffic.

Beginning this spring, we will spend $51.8 million on safety and congestion improvements along Highway 9 from 176th Street to Southeast Marsh Road just south of the Snohomish River. From Highway 96 to Marsh Road, about 1.5 miles, we will widen the highway to four lanes, install guardrails and rebuild the Highway 9 intersections at Marsh Road and Marsh-Airport Way-Springhetti. We will also install seven new traffic cameras, left- and right-turn lanes at four intersections, install traffic signals and improve lighting.

This project is part of the larger Highway 9 Corridor Program to improve safety and congestion from Woodinville to Bryant. Our current funding does not cover widening Highway 9 north of Marsh Road. For more information go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/ Projects/SR9/176thtoMarsh.

John Chi, Snohomish County project engineer

No money for new signal

Question: We live off Larch Way at the top of the hill. Our neighborhood has grown dramatically in the last five years with the new sewer system. The traffic on Filbert Road has increased exponentially. Cars now use 196th Street SW, which turns into Filbert Road, to travel east toward Bothell-Everett Highway.

I travel Filbert Road daily from the exit off I-5 at Alderwood Mall and must turn left on to Larch Way to reach my house. Turning left from Filbert to Larch is hazardous, as is trying to turn left from Larch to go west on Filbert. At the very least it needs to be patrolled for speeding, lighting needs to be installed, and a signal or stop sign added.

Lane Tollefsen, Lynnwood

Answer: This section of Filbert Road carries about 20,000 vehicles per day. Collision data shows the majority of incidents at the intersection of Filbert Road and Larch Way are rear-end collisions involving drivers waiting to turn left onto Larch Way. State traffic engineers recognize the limited sight issues and dangers of speeding traffic at this intersection. However, a four-way stop would do little to prevent collisions because it would cause dangerous traffic backups, putting drivers at an even greater risk of rear-end collisions. We also know most collisions at this intersection happen during daylight hours, so additional lighting would do little to prevent more collisions from happening.

Our engineers believe that a traffic signal and a turn lane on Filbert Way are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of collisions.

We currently do not have the funding to install a signal and turn lane; however, if we receive funding from the Legislature in the 2009-2011 transportation budget we can start construction of signal as early as spring 2011.

Mike Swires, Snohomish County traffic engineer

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