Meetings seek input on fixes to Highways 9, 204 interchange

LAKE STEVENS — Transportation engineers are seeking feedback on five ideas to transform the intersection of Highways 9 and 204, near the Frontier Village shopping center.

It’s a choke point along the busy Highway 9 corridor. Upwards of 30,000 vehicles pass through daily, heading north. Another 20,000-plus go south.

An open house to review the ideas is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hillcrest Elementary School, 9315 4th St. SE. It’s the second of three such meetings. The first was in October and generated more than 100 comments. The third is planned in July. By then, engineers aim to have a single plan and round up final thoughts.

Five designs are being considered and have been shared with city leaders. The end design may add, combine or remove features, said Cathy George, engineering manager for the state Department of Transportation.

The $69.5 million project landed state funding in 2015. Construction is budgeted at nearly $50 million, with the rest going toward engineering, design and purchasing right-of-way. Work could start by 2019.

One option is what George calls a “barebones alternative.” It would close at least part of the frontage road — 92nd Avenue NE and a stretch of Vernon Road — sandwiched between Frontier Village and Highway 9. The road leading into the shopping center would be updated so traffic enters and exits at the same point, with a new road about halfway across the parking area where cars can turn north or south.

The other four options would involve lowering or raising some lanes of the highways.

One proposes a lane for traffic turning north onto Highway 9 from eastbound 204 that would go under Highway 9, passing through a short tunnel before merging.

Three possibilities would have Highway 9 run under Highway 204 at the intersection. Two suggest navigating between the highways via a roundabout connected to on- and offramps. One of those also adds roundabouts at Highway 9’s intersections with 4th Street NE and Vernon Road. The third changes the merge points to a diamond interchange, with signals at the ramps instead of roundabouts.

All options create the ability to take a right on and off of 4th Street NE at Highway 9, and close at least a portion of the frontage road. Nothing is final, George said.

Bob Eaton runs the Chevron gas station and convenience store near Frontier Village. He worries closing the frontage road would spell the end of his and other businesses. It also would route more traffic into a congested shopping center.

“That seems really inefficient,” he said. “Why are you shutting down roads?”

There could be simpler solutions, Eaton said. More signs so drivers can get in the correct lane early on and find their way easily could lessen congestion, he said, as would better timed green lights.

“It could be improved, but not the way they’re doing it,” he said. “This thing is going to be permanent … It’s going to be great for some businesses, but it’s on the backs of commuters.”

He wishes there had been more outreach, and sooner. He plans to attend the meeting Thursday and urges others to, as well.

Mayor John Spencer has been impressed by the work so far but says there are issues that need to be addressed, among them the effect to businesses on the frontage road.

“Anybody who has looked at the plan has asked, ‘How is this gonna work?’ ” he said.

He hopes a mix-and-match of designs can create a solution. He doubts the intersection will land so much funding again, so it has to be done right.

“It’s become a pivot point for local traffic and a mess for commuter traffic,” he said. “To try to untangle that isn’t easy.”

A committee reviewed ideas before the open house. Members include city and county leaders or staff, and representatives from the chamber of commerce, Community Transit and Department of Transportation. The property management company for Frontier Village and business owners at Pioneer Square and Trestle Station also were part of the group, as were staff from the Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington Trucking Association and Boeing, according to city documents.

“We are definitely looking for input on things people like, things they don’t like, so we can modify these designs,” George said. “The main thing was to have some alternatives so we can start.”

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

A project website has been set up at wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr9/sr204improvements.

Talk to us

More in Local News

This undated photo, provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, shows U.S. Army Cpl. Benjamin Bazzell, 18, of Seymour, Conn., killed during the Korean War, who has been identified. The remains of Bazzell and other soldiers were turned over by North Korea to the U.S. in 2018 following a meeting between then-President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency via AP)
Remains of Everett woman’s brother killed in Korean War identified

The Army corporal went missing in action during the conflict in 1950.

Riaz Khan speaks at the groundbreaking at the site of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo that he helped spearhead over the last seven years on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in Mukilteo, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
All faiths invited to Saturday meeting for Mukilteo mosque

Construction is to begin in April. Pledges of $800,000 are needed to complete the project.

Brian Holtzclaw (left) and Tim Schmitt.
Recount confirms Holtzclaw’s re-election to Mill Creek council

In Stanwood, a machine recount validated Tim Schmitt’s defeat of City Councilwoman Judy Williams.

No one was injured in a fire that caused more than $200,000 damage to a commercial building in Edmonds early Wednesday morning. (South County Fire)
Fire damages former Edmonds Family Fun Center building

There were no injuries and the cause was not immediately clear.

William Talbott II pleads his innocence before a judge sentences him to life with out parole at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Everett, Wash. A Snohomish County judge sentenced William Talbott II to life in prison without parole, for murdering a young Canadian couple in 1987. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Cold-case murder conviction reversed due to juror’s bias

William Talbott, the world’s first convicted forensic genealogy defendant, was accused of killing a young Canadian couple in 1987.

Driver hits pedestrian on U.S. 2 trestle near Lake Stevens

The man, 56, was walking westbound near the Highway 204 interchange when he tried to cross the lanes.

Man identified after fatal fall from Arlington cell tower

Michael Vasquez, 24, of Las Vegas, fell about 140 feet while working Saturday afternoon.

A map of alternative routes and stations for the Sound Transit light rail extension from Lynnwood to Everett. (Sound Transit)
City of Everett outlines light rail priorities for 2037

Per a letter to Sound Transit, the mayor and planning director say they want four stations open as soon as possible.

Dr Chris Spitters (center), Interim Health Officer, makes makes his address Monday evening during a Special Meeting of the Snohomish Health District Board of Health at the Administration Builiding in Everett on March 2, 2020.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Chris Spitters, Snohomish County’s chief health officer, to step down

The physician who has been the official voice of the pandemic here says his departure is not work-related.

Most Read