Hopes for easing rush hour run high as bridge opens

By JIM HALEY and WARREN CORNWALL

Herald Writers

EVERETT — The last part of a nine-year, $92 million task to build new eastbound Hewitt Avenue Trestle lanes is virtually complete, and motorists Monday got their first taste of a new alignment.

New ramps from I-5 and Everett to a new bridge over the Snohomish River were opened after state Department of Transportation and construction crews worked through the weekend to put the finishing touches on them.

Other parts of the 2.5-mile trestle, including an interchange at Cavalero Corner at the east end, were completed and opened to motorists at various times in the 1990s.

Officials hope the bridge and ramps will help ease traffic on the trestle, as well as in the northbound lanes of I-5 during rush hour.

"It’s a major milestone. It was a relief for us to get the traffic switched over," said Gilc McNabb, DOT project engineer.

McNabb was in charge of the final phase of construction, a $42 million contract with General Construction Co. to complete the ramps and bridge. The new bridge sits some 70 feet above the river, much higher than the old one, which will be torn down, McNabb said.

The trestle is at the western terminus of U.S. 2.

The new structures got their first test Monday, but it was hardly a fair one. Heavy rain fell on the area throughout most of the afternoon, contributing to traffic accidents and backups in many locations.

The surge of late-afternoon freeway traffic frequently backs up for miles because of merging vehicles at 41st Street and people trying to get off I-5 bound for east Snohomish County communities such as Lake Stevens and Snohomish. Monday was no exception.

Traffic was still slow between the Everett Mall and downtown Everett. Downtown, eastbound traffic on Hewitt moved slowly as motorists got used to the new, two-lane ramp at Walnut Street.

"The biggest difference is the two-lane access directly from Hewitt" Avenue, McNabb said. Those lanes and the single freeway ramp still merge to just two lanes, but the merge point is farther away from the freeway.

"I think the congestion on I-5 will be reduced simply because the merge is moved farther east," he said.

The trestle work replaced a narrow, two-lane road that was constructed in the 1930s. The old structure included numerous wooden support members, a maintenance nightmare.

The new concrete trestle lies parallel to the westbound lanes, which were built in the 1960s.

Although the new structure still has only two lanes, it’s much wider and safer than the trestle it replaced, McNabb said.

The contractor was able to finish the job much faster than was thought when the work began two years ago, McNabb said. That was partly because some of the materials were delivered over private land on Ebey Island instead of by barge, as was in the original plans.

The cost will be about $1 million more than originally thought, however. That’s because more expensive bridge footings were installed, he said.

McNabb was afraid the bridge would not have been completed until next year if bad weather prevented the last bit of work.

Some construction will continue on new bicycle-pedestrian facilities that will be complete in the spring.

There have been some other traffic adjustments in Everett, McNabb said.

Hewitt Avenue is a one-way street between Maple and Walnut streets, and there’s no access to the trestle onramp from Chestnut Street.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Leslie Davis, left, and Lyndsay Lamb, twin sister stars of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" and 2004 Snohomish High School graduates, donated a private design session to the school's auction fundraiser for their 20-year reunion. (Photo provided)
Got $2,000? Bid on face time with HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twins

The sisters are offering up themselves in a fundraiser for their Class of 2004 Snohomish High 20-year reunion.

Everett
Fake gun sends Cascade High School into lockdown

Police detained a suspect with a fake weapon around 12:30 p.m. The lockout was lifted before 1:30 p.m.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Rose Freeman (center) and Anastasia Allison of The Musical Mountaineers play atop Sauk Mountain near Concrete in October 2017. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Musical Mountaineers’ sunset serenade to launch Adopt a Stream campaign

The nonprofit aims to transform into an “accessible model of sustainability,” with solar panels, electric vehicles and more.

A Marysville firefighter sprays water on a smoking rail car at the intersection of 116th Street NE and State Avenue around 8 a.m. Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Rail car catches fire, blocks traffic in Marysville

Around 7:20 a.m. Thursday, firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming from a rail car near 172th Street NE, officials said.

Firefighters transported two people to hospitals while extinguishing an apartment fire near Lake Ballinger in Edmonds Wednesday.
2 injured in Edmonds apartment fire

At least nine people were displaced by the fire on 236th Street SW, officials said. Nearly 50 firefighters responded.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff place a radio collar on a Grizzly Bear in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife / Wayne Kasworm)
For grizzly bears coming to Cascades, radio collars will keep close tabs

Tracking an apex predator is tricky. GPS collars play a central role in a controversial plan to repopulate grizzlies in Washington’s wilderness.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.