Lanes to open on 522


Herald Writer

MALTBY — The "Killer Highway" may be getting new lanes this week, but it won’t be getting a new nickname anytime soon.

Highway 522, the main thoroughfare between Monroe and the Woodinville area, will widen to two lanes westbound from Paradise Lake Road when crews remove the roadblocks Thursday morning.

Jerry Ward has lived just a few blocks from that intersection for 24 years. He’s able to rattle off the names of all the side streets to take, depending on where a road-closing fatality occurs along the dangerous highway.

Still, he’s not too excited about the new lanes.

"It’ll be a bottleneck when it narrows down," Ward said, "so I can’t see it being any help."

Accidents might increase at the merging points, but the new lanes should at least speed up westbound drivers from Paradise Lake Road on, said Mark Leingang of Snohomish. Leingang has worked at the Chevron station near that intersection since August, and he said almost everyone who comes in asks when the new lanes will open.

"That’s the No. 1 question," he said. "Everyone thinks we know."

Transportation workers had to postpone the opening, which had been scheduled for Saturday, because of bad weather. Roadway striping can’t be done in wet conditions.

But they went ahead and had the ribbon-cutting ceremony that morning, and if Mother Nature cooperates, will open the two new westbound lanes Thursday morning.

There will still be just one eastbound lane until the spring, however, because crews will have to grind away the grooved "rumble strips" between the two current lanes and restripe them for eastbound traffic.

Sean Noland and his wife, Lisa, said they moved from Monroe to Arlington six years ago because of the dangerous and congested highway.

Twenty more people have died in accidents along Highway 522 since Reader’s Digest identified the road in 1995 as one of the nation’s most dangerous highways, said state Sen. Jeanine Long, R-Mill Creek.

"There were accidents constantly," Noland said. "You’d be driving along, and there would be wreaths and crosses the whole way."

Stopped at a gas station near the new lanes, the couple said the danger isn’t the only frustration for drivers.

Even on a Sunday afternoon, the highway turns into a "crawlway" for miles.

"They at least solved the head-on problem," Noland said. "When you’re only doing 5 miles per hour …"

In April, lawmakers allocated $19 million to widen the road all the way to the Snohomish River.

"It’s funded to the bridge," said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish.

After that, it’s iffy.

Long said funding to complete the project through Monroe would be her highest priority when the Legislature convenes in January, but she was only "cautiously optimistic" that the money would be available.

Lawmakers have a tough budget year ahead of them due to a downturn in the economy and several spending and revenue-cutting initiatives that voters passed last year and this year, including Initiative 695.

"We have assurances from the Department of Transportation that work on 522 will continue," Long said in a press release. "But the bottom line is that people will continue to die on this highway until the Legislature appropriates the money needed to complete the remaining phases of the project."

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Compass Health’s building on Broadway in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Compass class teaches first aid — for mental health

A one-day course hosted in Snohomish County is designed to triage behavioral health challenges: “This gave me many more tools.”

The Wilderness Land Trust transferred a 354-acre property straddling the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas to public ownership, adding it to the designated wilderness areas. (The Wilderness Land Trust)
Wild Sky Wilderness grows 345 acres, as transfer chips at private land

The Wilderness Land Trust announced it had completed a transfer near Silvertip Peak to the U.S. Forest Service.

Most Read