David Nelson of Marysville is among those wondering: What are the long-term plans to extend an HOV lane or expand capacity on I-5 N past Everett to Marysville?
Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation responds: “There is no timeframe or funding for extending HOV lanes to Marysville or beyond. However, the Connecting Washington package includes funding for a project that would allow drivers to use the shoulder of northbound I-5 between Marine View Drive and SR 528 in Marysville as an additional lane in times of heavy congestion.”
Herald readers may recall this has long been on the wish-list for local leaders.
A similar approach has been in place on U.S. 2, with the shoulder open on the eastbound trestle during peak afternoon commute hours since spring 2009. The I-5 shoulder project will take the concept to the next level, Pearce said.
“One difference between the I-5 project and U.S. 2 is the hours of operation. On the eastbound U.S. 2 trestle shoulder driving is allowed only at specific times of day. The I-5 shoulder lane project will include an active signing system that would let drivers know when shoulder driving is allowed,” he said.
The help is a few years off. Design is set to start in 2017, with construction expected in 2019 or 2020. The project will require restriping the existing lanes and rebuilding bridge barriers to provide a shoulder wide enough for driving.