MALTBY — The look of a planned new interchange on Highway 522 at Paradise Lake Road is coming into focus.
State transportation planners will hold an open house next week to go over a “preliminary preferred alternative” for design of the interchange. The concept was whittled down from a list of six earlier this year.
Two options were presented at an October open house, which was attended by 220 people.
Both of those suggested connecting Highway 524 to Paradise Lake Road and raising Highway 522 over the new joined roadway.
Planners have settled on a version that eliminates the existing at-grade crossing. Instead, traffic entering and exiting Highway 522 would use new on and off ramps, which would connect to the new bridge deck as a traditional diamond interchange, similar to the one built in 2006 at Fales Road-Echo Lake Road.
A second option would have kept traffic exiting and entering Highway 522 at-grade, while closing the intersection to cross traffic.
Both options involve removing a connection from 91st Avenue SE to 212th Street SE on the east side of the highway. However, the preferred plan is expected to improve traffic flow on West Bostian Road, on the west side of the highway.
Traffic congestion at the existing Paradise Lake Road intersection can cause long delays for commuters, freight haulers and local businesses. Drivers trying to get around bottlenecks on the highway frequently cause backups on nearby surface streets.
In 1994, a design was picked but then deemed too expensive to build. No funding was set aside.
In 2016, planners worked on a cheaper option that would have involved an elevated roundabout intersection.
The Legislature provided $750,000 to identify a preferred approach — the work currently underway. The roundabout idea was soon nixed, though roundabouts could still be part of the overall traffic management plan in the area. After next week’s open house, the study group will submit its report to the Legislature by the end of the year.
Then it’s a matter of finding the millions of dollars needed to put the plan into action. While there is $10 million set aside for preliminary design funding, that money does not become available until 2025. And there’s no money allotted so far for final design, right-of-way acquisition or construction.
Past estimates for a new interchange have ranged from $65 million to $110 million.
What: A drop-in open house to discuss and share feedback with traffic engineers about conceptual design options for the Highway 522 and Paradise Lake Road intersection. No formal presentation is expected.
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5
Where: Hidden River Middle School, 9224 Paradise Lake Road, Snohomish
More info: tinyurl.com/522ParadiseLake
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