A BNSF train crosses Grove Street in Marysville on Thursday. The Legislature approved funding for an overcrossing at the intersection in the state’s 16-year transportation package. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

A BNSF train crosses Grove Street in Marysville on Thursday. The Legislature approved funding for an overcrossing at the intersection in the state’s 16-year transportation package. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

State funds to bridge the gap for Marysville rail crossings

The city’s getting $5 million for the Grove Street overcrossing and $500,000 for 156th Street NE.

Marysville drivers know the drill.

Getting to and from I-5 runs the risk of being stuck behind a closed railroad crossing that runs north and south, just east of the freeway.

But there aren’t many convenient alternatives. All of the 16 rail line and road intersections are at-grade crossings in the city, plus seven more at private roads.

Trains rolling through can halt traffic. That can delay travelers, deliveries and emergency responders. And such delays could become more frequent in the coming years, as the number of trains coming through are expected to double.

“It cuts our city in half,” Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said.

Some circumvention, and perhaps unification, is ahead.

Marysville is set to get $5.5 million to put toward two railroad overcrossing projects in the Legislature’s $17 billion Move Ahead Washington transportation package.

Another $30.5 million in the revenue and spending plan covers the funding gap for the I-5 northbound HOV lane from Everett to Marysville and Highway 529 interchange makeover.

“We’re thrilled,” Nehring said. “We had some very critical projects funded through Move Ahead.”

Marysville leaders and engineering staff view the city as having central, north and south major access points over the railroad to I-5. Grove Street is the central access, 156th Street NE for the north, and the First Street Bypass finished in late 2020 to the south.

Grove Street’s rail crossing is likely to be done first. The transportation package includes $5 million for it in the state’s current two-year spending plan.

An early estimate, which could change as bids come in, is near $24 million for the whole project. City leaders hope other federal and state grants can pay for it.

The state’s $5 million gets the project “shovel ready,” Nehring said. It’ll go toward finishing the design, acquiring property and matching dollars for federal grant applications.

In response to a Facebook post by The Daily Herald asking about the state-funded projects, people said they wanted separated rail crossings at Fourth and 88th streets. There’s good reason they would.

A 2017 legislative report created a priority list of 302 rail crossings across the state. Marysville had three in the top 50 — 88th Street NE (ranked ninth overall), Fourth Street NE (18th), and 116th Street NE (31st).

None of those were in the state’s 16-year transportation package or the city’s annual six-year transportation improvement plan. That’s because building overcrossings at Fourth and 88th Streets NE is more complicated than at 156th Street NE or Grove Street.

State Avenue, the city’s major north-south road, is too close to the train tracks at 88th Street NE. Existing buildings there and near Fourth Street NE make property acquisition more difficult and construction more disruptive, city spokesperson Connie Mennie said.

Nehring said a separated crossing for 88th Street NE is “a really expensive project that we would like to see funded.” But the cost and the city’s tendency to focus on two or three projects at a time means Marysville’s attention is on Grove Street and 156th Street NE for now.

Grove Street was the “most suitable” for an overpass bridge, according to a 2015 study by the city. The state’s list ranked it 123rd.

It would be about 67 feet wide and 120 feet long over the tracks between Cedar and State avenues. Compared to other locations, it would have the least impact on nearby properties and most distance from major roads, Mennie said.

Completion likely is beyond the city’s initial timeline of 2027 because the project wasn’t fully funded, Mennie said.

For north Marysville travelers, the 156th Street railroad overcrossing west of I-5 will take longer. The state’s $500,000 plus $500,000 from the city will get the flyover crossing from the planned freeway interchange to 30% design. Construction of that overcrossing is estimated at $22 million, according to the city.

Work on the $42 million interchange, funded by the Legislature’s previous Connecting Washington transportation package, is expected to begin between 2025 and 2031.

Marysville leaders hope the second overcrossing there improves east-west traffic, especially for people in the Lakewood area.

The state’s Highway 529 project will build new ramps connecting it to I-5. Those would let drivers avoid the rail crossing at Fourth Street.

Community Transit also got $10 million for its Swift bus rapid transit Gold line between Everett and Smokey Point. The frequent service has riders pay before boarding and could launch as early as 2027.

It could help people commute to and from the burgeoning Cascade Industrial Center along Highway 531 between Arlington and Marysville.

“If you’re going to have a job space up there,” Nehring said, “having a way to get people in and out of there is critical.”

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

Talk to us

More in Local News

‘Prepper’ arrested in Everett after grenade, explosives found

The suspect was described as “anti-government,” police wrote. He remained in custody Monday.

Nonprofit offers free mental wellness event for local teens

The Saturday gathering at EvCC, sponsored by Leadership Launch, is for teens in eighth grade through college.

State Rep. April Berg will resign from Everett School Board

The Mill Creek Democrat will step down June 1. Meanwhile, she filed Monday for re-election to the state House.

Juan Luna, left, and Jeff Austin tune up bicycles to be donated Tuesday afternoon at Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Afghanistan, Ukraine refugees get bikes, bus passes and rides

One nonprofit needs volunteers to repair 40 kids bikes for refugees. Another agency could use cash gift cards.

A woman was struck by a car while crossing HIghway 99 on Dec. 2, 2021. (Lynnwood Police Department)
Woman charged in Highway 99 death of Lynnwood pedestrian, 72

Prosecutors allege Tachelle Thomas was under the influence of THC when she hit and killed Fozieh Shirdelhefzabad, 72, in 2020.

Rainey Forzetting makes a kratom smoothie at her home in Lake Stevens, Washington on March 29, 2022. Blueberries, 6 grams Kratom, a triple berry mix, almond butter, pomegranate and oak milk make up her daily concoction. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sold as elixir, kratom popularity surges in ‘Wild West’ of legality

Doctors warn kratom, an opioid alternative, is addictive and ripe for abuse. Yet it’s unregulated and sold at any smokeshop.

$1 million bail for Everett ampm shooting suspect

The suspect, 36, is accused of shooting an acquaintance Monday, dumping the gun in a dumpster and fleeing from police.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County seeks input on spending American Rescue Plan dollars

In-person events across the county will help guide more than $80 million in federal recovery money.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
3.6-magnitude earthquake jars awake Darrington residents

The quake and aftershocks did not cause any serious damage. They’re reminders of dozens of faults that lie below.

Most Read