Cars merge and navigate the construction along 36th Avenue West on March 13 in Lynnwood. The road project is nearing completion. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cars merge and navigate the construction along 36th Avenue West on March 13 in Lynnwood. The road project is nearing completion. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

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Road work in Lynnwood felt like a long haul for short stretch

The 36th Avenue West project started a few years ago and is on schedule to wrap this spring.

When roads get torn up for projects, sometimes it can seem like a forever-taking endeavor.

That feeling gripped one reader, who wondered what’s the holdup for a mile of 36th Avenue West, from 179th Street Southwest/Maple Road to 165th Place Southwest.

“Will the project ever be completed?” the reader asked. “I swear that it’s been under construction for around two years. Not even kidding. This must be the slowest construction project (only about a mile long) I’ve ever heard of…”

It’s a fair question, and she’s right about how long it’s been.

At first, construction was slated for 2018 and expected to take 18 months. Both numbers are true today, as work began in late 2018 and is on target to wrap up in May.

“As far as I know it’s still on schedule, it just takes a long time to build a mile of roadway,” Lynnwood city engineer David Mach said.

When it was first planned in 2016, more than 14,300 vehicles used that stretch of the north-south arterial every day.

If you think that number’s gone down lately… well, you may be technically correct because of the overall diminished traffic due to public health concerns and regulations related to the new coronavirus. But overall, before when things were normal, traffic in and around Lynnwood certainly felt thicker. Remember, the Costco near Alderwood opened in 2015, so it’s not like fewer cars were in the area.

And the population north and south of it is projected to grow.

The road had a reputation in those days — the roller coaster road, the washboard, the coffee spiller — that the City is happy to leave in the past.

Once completed, it’ll have more road lanes in some spots, continuous sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, a new traffic signal at the intersection of 36th, Maple Road/179th, and a roundabout at the intersection of 36th and 172nd Street Southwest.

“Previously it was a really awkward intersection,” Mach said. “The two streets that came in to 36th from either side, they didn’t line up, they were offset about 150 feet.”

The bike lanes were an important element for the City’s environmental and transportation goals.

“As the city grows and more development occurs, vehicle lanes take up more space and are not as good for the environment,” Mach said. “Bikes lanes, they’re narrower.”

The proposed Community Transit Swift Bus Rapid Transit Orange Line between Lynnwood and Mill Creek would go through 36th. To accommodate transit there, the project included hybrid bus pullouts that take up some of the bike lane and planter strip.

Snohomish County has planned to improve the road north of 164th Street Southwest. That’s still in the works.

Have a question? Email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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