How much traffic does an intersection need for a stop light?

A Monroe intersection without a signal caught the ire of one reader.

If someone finds true bliss sitting at a busy intersection waiting to turn without a traffic signal, they must have reached a level of inner peace none but the most serene among us has attained.

Out in Monroe, just north of U.S. 2 and the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, an intersection without a signal caught the ire of one reader.

“I think there should be a traffic light on the corner of Mountain Ridge and Chain Lake (roads),” Ruth Gray of Monroe wrote. “If you try to turn left on to Chain Lake Road between 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock it is almost impossible to get on to Chain Lake Road.”

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 vehicles use that stretch of Chain Lake Road daily, according to the Monroe Comprehensive Plan. The city’s guiding capital projects and planning document looks ahead to 2035, when traffic there is projected to nearly double from recent peak weekday counts.

Work on the road, between North Kelsey Street and Rainier View Road, is one of the high-priority projects in the plan. Estimated to cost $9.3 million, the work would increase vehicle capacity and add bike and pedestrian features.

Of course, the project could be a decade or more from happening, depending on when funding is available.

Navigating the crush of traffic around the U.S. 2 corridor is a well known problem for people who live in Gold Bar, Monroe, Snohomish and Sultan.

When it comes to state highways, intersection improvements and redesigns go through a five-step process that includes data collection, design studies and computer modeling.

There’s recourse for other people in Monroe who aren’t happy with intersection infrastructure: click the “Monroe Listens” icon on the City’s home page,, and submit your question, concern or request.

Have a question? Email Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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