I-5 traffic restricts 128th St. options

Question: Why is 128th Street SE at I-5 such a bottleneck?

I live right by Highway 9 and Cathcart Way and work at 100th Street SE and Airport Road. It should be a straight shot to get to work, but 128th Street at I-5 is such a mess that I’m forced to take a three-mile long detour.

The delay is a combination of lights not sequenced, and of course the delays of getting on and off of I-5.

John Meister, Snohomish

Answer: We have reviewed the traffic flow at this signal for several weeks, and unfortunately, we are unable to make any changes at this time.

The signals at the 128th Street SE overpass are designed to accommodate heavy traffic not only from 128th Street, but also from the offramps from northbound and southbound I-5. The signals at the offramps are relatively close to each other, so we designed the signal sequence to maximize the number of vehicles going through both signals.

We know it can be frustrating for drivers to have to wait at the light, but we can’t allow traffic on these offramps to back up onto the freeway.

Mike Swires, DOT traffic engineer for Snohomish County

Boeing Freeway conflict

Question: Westbound Boeing Freeway drivers turning onto 84th Street SW often cut off cars turning from northbound Paine Field Boulevard onto westbound 84th Street in Mukilteo.

Regardless of the red light and oncoming traffic, drivers routinely violate the right-of-way of the left-turning drivers. Could a “No Turn on Red” sign be added for southbound traffic?

Kevin Schroeter, Mukilteo

Answer: Unfortunately, we cannot prohibit westbound drivers from turning right on a red light.

There are so many drivers turning right from westbound Highway 526 onto westbound 84th Street SW that restricting the turn would create a safety risk. Right-turning traffic would back up and spill out of the right-turn pocket and into through traffic, increasing the risk of high speed rear-end collisions.

Mike Swires, DOT traffic engineer for Snohomish County

Traffic backs up at signal

Question: At the intersection of 35th Avenue SE and Seattle Hill Road, traffic backs up for close to a mile every afternoon on Seattle Hill Road traveling east. Everyone is trying to get home to all of the new developments along and east of 35th Avenue SE. The light needs to be adjusted to let more traffic through from that direction.

Tim Borchers, Mill Creek

Answer: Both eastbound and northbound traffic is heavy during the afternoon peak periods as commuters return home. There are significant backups for both of these directions.

Adding more time for eastbound Seattle Hill Road would only lengthen the backup for northbound 35th Avenue SE. However, we will review the signal timing and make adjusts as appropriate.

In the longer term, this intersection is scheduled for improvement by adding right-turn drop lanes for each approach to the intersection. This improvement is scheduled for 2009.

In addition, Snohomish County and the city of Mill Creek both are studying traffic issues along Seattle Hill Road, 132nd Street SE and 35th Avenue SE.

Jim Bloodgood, traffic engineer, Snohomish County public works

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