Another step toward driving congestion relief through Lake Stevens is set to begin next week.
Contractor crews plan to start working Monday on stage two of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s $69 million overhaul to the intersection of Highways 9 and 204.
Stage one’s $1.67 million work built a second southbound Highway 9 lane that was finished in 2019.
This part of the project includes building a second northbound Highway 9 lane from Market Place to Fourth Street NE as well as right turns from the highway to Fourth Street NE, Market Place and from Market Place to the northbound traffic.
“This stage will hopefully address some of the congestion that is approaching the Highway 204 intersection,” WSDOT spokesman Steven Hershkowitz said.
An estimated 21,000 vehicles used Highway 9 between Market Place and Highway 204 every weekday a couple of years ago. Even more vehicles used Highway 204, according to state data.
Crews will turn the existing eight-foot wide shoulder into the new lane by adding four feet which requires clearing, building subbase, compacting the ground, asphalt paving, and pavement marking.
The additional lane can improve flow and right turn pockets separate traffic without excessive backups. According to a consultant’s analysis for the WSDOT project, travel times in 2040 during afternoon peak commutes should be reduced, compared with leaving the intersection area as it was, for drivers between Lundeen Parkway and Market Place on Highway 9 and heading west to Highway 204.
Originally that work was expected to begin last year, but the pandemic delayed it because of state employee furloughs, the stay home order, new safety protocols, and the state waiting on the court ruling against Initiative 976 that would have affected some funding.
In the next two weeks, crews with Marshbank Construction likely will close the eight-foot-wide shoulders in the highway work area. Overnight closures are scheduled to begin Monday, June 28 and more are possible. The Lake Stevens-based company also won the bid for work on stage one.
Overnight closures planned through October: Partial and full closures of Market Place at Highway 9; Highway 9 reduced to one lane with alternating northbound and southbound traffic between Highway 204 and Market Place; lane closures in both directions of Highway 9; and single lane closures on Highway 204 before Highway 9.
Lane construction is projected to conclude in late October.
Another part of stage two is the construction of noise walls and planting about 500 excelsa cedar, Persian ironwood, strawberry, and vine maple trees to replace vegetation cut down to make room for the new lane and sound barrier, which is planned for March next year.
The noise wall was necessary because a noise study measured up to 70 decibels in the area, which exceeded the 66 decibel criteria level. WSDOT estimates the noise walls will reduce those levels by between six to 12 decibels and five to 13 decibels for the first row of nearby homes on either side of Highway 9, Hershkowitz said.
The work is estimated to cost $7.4 million. The bulk of the $69 million, which came out of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package, is marked for the next stage that will build four roundabouts at intersections along Highway 9 north and south of Highway 204, which connects to U.S. 2 and Frontier Village.
“As a department we’ve been finding that roundabouts provide some really important safety improvements,” Hershkowitz said. “Not having rear-end crashes that would happen at a light, usually there’s faster traffic flow because you’re just yielding.”
A soft timeline has roundabout construction beginning next summer and concluding in 2023, but the work has not yet been advertised for bids.
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