Lynnwood I-5 concrete ‘island’ to be removed

The massive concrete barrier that has for months sat squarely in the middle of southbound I-5 in the Lynnwood area is being removed this week.

That means drivers will now stop making last-minute, unsafe, panicked lane changes at the location just north of the 164th Street SW exit.

Also coming to an end will be the daily thrashing of two rows of tall, thin orange pylons designed to keep drivers away from the concrete island.

And we can’t forget that everyone’s brakes will now last a little longer because they will no longer be obliged to slam them every time they come up to the construction project.

The barrier was plopped in the middle of the freeway to support a bridge Sound Transit is building at the site, a common practice when building freeway bridges, said agency spokesman Lee Somerstein.

When done, the bridge will allow traffic in the carpool lanes to exit directly into the Ash Way park-and-ride, allowing transit buses to avoid having to weave through traffic to get to the HOV lane.

The bridge, however, is far from being done.

Sound Transit and the state Department of Transportation had planned to build the bridge but were concerned that tall trucks could hit forms used during its construction.

When a plan failed to use a laser warning system to get the trucks to detour around the project, the partners had to scrap that idea.

They still have not settled on a plan for building the overpass.

Options include raising the height of the entire operation or building the bridge at a higher elevation and then dropping it into place when done.

Planners said they will build the overpass in a way that ensures all trucks will fit under it, which is why the barrier is no longer needed.

Somerstein said the project’s schedule has not been slowed and that a contingency fund for cost overruns has enough cash in it to cover the cost of whatever fix they come up with.

We’ve heard time and time again that it’s "those crazy young people who drive too fast. That they put us all in danger."

Well, it turns out that, yes, young people do driver faster than most, but they’re not the only ones.

A new survey of 600 state drivers shows that 18 percent of drivers who make more than $75,000 admit to driving 6 mph to 10 mph over the speed limit, while only 7 percent of those who make less than that admit to driving that fast.

The PEMCO Insurance of Seattle survey found that only 15 percent of drivers ages 18 to 34 drive 6 mph to 10 mph over the speed limit.

"The risk of death (from an accident) is linked to speed," said Joe Osterberg, a PEMCO spokesman, saying that he’s surprised and uncertain why those with higher incomes, and presumably more education, among us drive fast. "I’d like to know why some people speed more than others too."

The survey also found that 63 percent of the population admits to some form of speeding.

For those keeping score, 5 percent of all divers said they drive under the speed limit.

Q: When will a traffic light be installed at Highway 528 and Highway 9? Truckers crowd the intersection by using 83rd Avenue to get to the Getchell Road and Highway 9 traffic light.

C.R. Dehnhoff, Marysville

A: A traffic light at that intersection is being installed right now. Estimates are construction will be finished by the end of May. The traffic light will make it easier for trucks to make a left turn to go north.

Marlin Lenssen, state Department of Transportation project engineer

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