The Washington State Department of Transportation has a contractor to build the northbound Interstate 5 HOV lane from Everett to Marysville, seen at the bottom here crossing Union Slough. The project also includes a makeover for the interchange with Highway 529. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

The Washington State Department of Transportation has a contractor to build the northbound Interstate 5 HOV lane from Everett to Marysville, seen at the bottom here crossing Union Slough. The project also includes a makeover for the interchange with Highway 529. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

I-5 HOV lane, Highway 529 interchange work to start this year

WSDOT awarded the $123.1 million project’s design-build contract to Guy F. Atkinson Construction.

A little later and more costly than originally envisioned, the state has a contractor to build a carpool lane on northbound Interstate 5 and redo the Highway 529 interchange in Marysville.

The Washington State Department of Transportation awarded the $123.1 million project’s design-build contract to Renton-based Guy F. Atkinson Construction. Work is expected to begin later this year and finish in 2025.

“This work will improve mobility for highway users, ease congestion and provide more access to and from Marysville,” Atkinson senior project manager Reggie Wageman said in a news release. “We intend to build a project that meets the needs of the community, minimizes effects on travelers and looks for efficiencies in design and construction to provide the best value for taxpayers.”

When first proposed in 2015, the state’s estimated price tag was around $85 million.

Higher costs for labor, land and supplies raised the cost since then.

The project has three parts:

  • Extending the northbound high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane from U.S. 2 in Everett to south of Highway 529 in Marysville;
  • A northbound ramp from I-5 to Highway 529; and
  • A ramp from Highway 529 to southbound I-5.

Funding problems were identified in 2020. At the time, state DOT staff warned work on the southbound ramp from Highway 529 to I-5 could be delayed. That element of the total project was expected to be $7.2 million over the budget. A major reason for that cost increase is the state had to offset wetland lost during construction by paying several million dollars to restore about 11.3 acres where saltwater and freshwater mix in the Snohomish River near Port Gardner.

Then construction labor and materials got costlier.

The Legislature’s 16-year, nearly $17 billion Move Ahead WA transportation package plugged the funding gap with $30.5 million.

The Highway 529/I-5 interchange project includes a northbound ramp from the freeway onto the highway into Marysville, and a southbound ramp from the highway to the interstate. A funding gap in its original budget was plugged by the Legislature’s 16-year nearly $17 billion transportation package. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

The Highway 529/I-5 interchange project includes a northbound ramp from the freeway onto the highway into Marysville, and a southbound ramp from the highway to the interstate. A funding gap in its original budget was plugged by the Legislature’s 16-year nearly $17 billion transportation package. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

Redoing the interchange is considered a critical transportation project for Marysville to circumvent the train tracks that run through town and can cut off travelers from I-5.

Currently there is no southbound access to I-5 from Highway 529, also called State Avenue through Marysville. Instead, drivers can get to the freeway from Fourth Street which takes them across the train tracks. When freight rolls through, it can hold up traffic for minutes at a time.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring credited state Rep. Emily Wicks, and state Sens. Marko Liias and June Robinson for the project’s full funding.

“To take that to the back of the line would have been devastating regionally,” he said.

Extending the HOV lane north could help some of the estimated 66,000 daily commuters cruise past the backups that form at the U.S. 2 interchange, off-ramp to Marine View Drive and across the Snohomish River Bridge. Nearly 25% of those northbound vehicles could use the HOV lane, according to state data.

Crews will make the existing three general purpose lanes smaller and move them to the right, and restripe the roadway to add the HOV lane. Shoulders on both sides of I-5 will be more narrow.

Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and wrap in 2025.

“Once we give the contractor notice to proceed, then they’ll start working on a project schedule and timeline. That includes completing design work on the interchange,” WSDOT spokesperson Kris Olsen said in an email.

WSDOT doesn’t expect the four-month concrete delivery strike to affect the project timeline since construction has not started and Teamsters Local 174 offered to return to work.

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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