No right-turn lanes in Everett on Highway 99, yet

Kevin Branvold of Everett writes: Much of Highway 99 in Snohomish County has three lanes in each direction, beginning at the county line and continuing to Everett. Often the far right lane requires cars to turn at a light, making it faster for buses and turning traffic.

Beginning in south Everett, there seem to be no restrictions. If you are turning right at many lights, you are often stuck behind numerous cars going straight. Are there any thoughts of extending ‘right turn only except for transit’ lanes into Everett?

Bronlea Mishler, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: As Kevin points out, Highway 99 has three lanes in each direction starting north of Highway 104 in Edmonds and continuing through Lynnwood. This section of the highway is designated as a transit emphasis corridor. Except for buses, all traffic in the far right lane must turn right at intersections with signals.

The transit emphasis ends at 148th Street SW, just north of Lynnwood, where Highway 99 drops from three lanes to two lanes in each direction. Our long-term plans include widening both directions of Highway 99 and extending the transit emphasis to Everett. We’re currently putting together a design-and-cost estimate for future funding and construction.

Jimmy Devekos of Bothell writes: I work in the area of 128th Street SW and Fourth Avenue W. Why isn’t there easier access into the plaza where 7-Eleven is located?

If you are going west on 128th there is no problem because you can make a right turn into the parking lot. If you are going east, however, you pretty much have no way of getting in. Even if you drive east and then turn north on Fourth, there still is no way to turn into the plaza. Are there any future plans on making the entrances a little easier?

Owen Carter, Snohomish County engineer, responds: This intersection has some of the highest traffic volumes in the county. To reduce the potential for accidents and to keep traffic moving, the county developed a parking-lot access plan that limited most driveways to right turns in and right turns out.

This reduces the ways that cars can run into each other and allows us to set signals for better traffic flow. Currently the county does not have any further plans to reconstruct Fourth Avenue W. or 128th Street SW near the intersection. However, we will monitor the intersection and consider changes to improve its efficiency for drivers. Thank you for your question.

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