The view looking west down First Street on Thursday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The view looking west down First Street on Thursday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Marysville opens new road to ease downtown congestion

The city’s First Street bypass opened Friday afternoon.

MARYSVILLE — Now there’s an alternative to sitting in traffic on Fourth Street.

After more than a decade of planning and 1½ years of construction, Marysville’s First Street bypass opened to traffic Friday.

Built between Alder Avenue and 47th Avenue NE, the road is an extension of First Street. The new stretch is expected to serve as a backup route to Fourth Street, which is often congested.

Eventually it may also provide a way to reach I-5 while avoiding the train tracks, after a new exit is built on Highway 529. Work on that Washington State Department of Transportation project is expected to start next year and wrap up in 2023.

This is the largest transportation construction project in memory that Marysville has funded on its own, city spokesperson Connie Mennie said.

“It’s a brand new arterial, which is really kind of a big deal,” she said. “We don’t build those very often.”

City leaders started to discuss the bypass at least 15 years ago. Traffic in the south part of the city was a problem, even back then.

“It was clear Fourth Street was at capacity a long time ago,” Mennie said. “We needed some other way to get people around.”

Work crews pour cement on the corner of First Street and Alder Avenue on Thursday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Work crews pour cement on the corner of First Street and Alder Avenue on Thursday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Work started on the bypass in May 2019. In all, the project cost about $22 million, with $13 million of that going to construction. Crews finished a few month earlier than they originally thought, Mennie said.

More changes near downtown include a future civic center that is being built along Delta Avenue, near Comeford Park. The city also plans to adopt an updated master plan by the end of March 2021. People can share ideas through an online interactive map until the end of the month.

The original stretch of First Street was widened between State and Alder avenues. Along the new stretch of First, a bike path still needs minor adjustments but is scheduled to open in about two weeks. No more closures are planned.

The road includes sidewalks and cross walks, as well as dozens of ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Light poles line the street, along with landscaping that doubles as a storm water draining system.

“It will be a lovely drive,” Mennie said.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Downtown master plan

Share thoughts on the future of Marysville’s downtown online at makers.mysocialpinpoint.com/marysville-downtown-master-plan. Suggestions are accepted until the end of the month.

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