No relief for Highway 9 commuters

Street Smarts has received a lot of questions over the past several months from drivers frustrated with the commute on Highway 9. Many of them wondered if traffic signals are not as carefully timed as they could be.

In general, traffic on Highway 9 is a bad-and-getting-worse headache.

Congestion is up significantly on the I-5 corridor. Drivers look for other routes, and (Highway) 9 is one of the main alternatives,” said Steve Schuller, public works director for the city of Snohomish.

Tom Pearce, a spokesman at the Washington State Department of Transportation, summarizes the state’s approach to Highway 9:

“The Washington State Department of Transportation has been actively monitoring the signals along State Route 9 for the past few months and making adjustments where changes can improve traffic flow. However, northbound SR 9 goes from two to one lane between 180th Street Southeast and 176th Street Southeast. This bottleneck creates a significant amount of congesting during peak periods. With this configuration, only so much can be done with traffic signals to improve traffic.

“Currently WSDOT has funding for design and property acquisition to widen northbound SR 9 to two lanes between 180th and East Lowell-Larimer Road/Broadway Avenue. However, no construction funding is scheduled at this time. Until the highway is widened, we’ll continue to monitor the traffic signals and do the best we can to keep traffic moving.”

Have a question? Email us at Please include your first and last name and city of residence. Look for updates on the Street Smarts blog.

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