Lynnwood receives $5 million to widen 196th Street

LYNNWOOD — The plan to widen 196th Street SW in Lynnwood just got a boost.

City officials recently got word they’ve secured an additional $5 million in state transportation grants.

That brings the total of state and federal contributions for the project to $22 million, confirming that construction can start in 2018, public works director Bill Franz said. Of that, $14.9 million was approved by the Legislature in this year’s transportation package. The city will pick up the other $2 million in anticipated costs.

Also known as Highway 524, the route is Lynnwood’s busiest east-west arterial, Franz said.

“This is a critical transportation link,” he said.

The stretch of road planned for widening is about 0.7 miles between the Lynnwood Convention Center and the Fred Meyer, where it’s now five lanes of traffic. The work would add a lane in each direction, plus wider medians and wider sidewalks. There also will be bus lanes.

This is the first transportation project planned under new design guidelines for the area of Lynnwood slated to become City Center, a walkable downtown core with high-rise, high- density buildings.

“It provides the capacity for the new development that will occur in the City Center,” Franz said.

The public works department plans to brief the City Council on the 196th project at Monday’s meeting, set for 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Lynnwood has been identified as a key area of projected population growth for Snohomish County over the next decade or two, city engineer Jeff Elekes said. Other recent transportation projects include the new “ring road” just north of Alderwood mall and a new roundabout — the city’s first — on 204th Street SW, at Edmonds Community College.

More change is coming, and not just the anticipated arrival of light rail in 2023. Two other major road projects are under design, with the city beginning to talk about property acquisition, though construction money is not yet lined up. One is the Poplar Way extension, which would build a bridge over I-5 linking Poplar Way and 33rd Avenue W. That $30 million project could see construction start in 2018, officials said.

Another is the reconstruction of 36th Avenue W., a busy north-south route known for its potholes. The 36th plan includes new sidewalks and a roundabout at 172nd Street SW. That $9 million project could see construction in 2017 at the earliest.

Eventually, two more roads are planned for City Center: a new 42nd Avenue West and the extension of 194th Street SW. In addition, 198th Street SW, near the Goodwill, is supposed to become a Main Street-style boulevard.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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