State plans new I-5 interchange near Smokey Point

To improve traffic in the Smokey Point area, Bill Klem earlier this year suggested: “Some possibilities for easing the traffic would be to put on/off ramps at the Firetrail overpass (136th Street NE) to the north and also at the new overpass by the old Plant Farm (156th Street NE).”

Turns out one of those suggestions is in the state’s plans.

Tom Pearce of the Washington State Department of Transportation responds: “Beginning in 2025, the Connecting Washington package has funding scheduled to start designing an interchange at 156th Street Northeast and Interstate 5. Funding for construction is scheduled between 2027 and 2031. There are no current plans for an interchange at the 136th Street Northeast overpass.

“While adding an interchange to I-5 may improve the situation on local roadways, the Washington State Department of Transportation needs to consider the impact on the interstate system as well,” Pearce added. “For example, interchanges need to be properly spaced so they don’t interfere with I-5 traffic. Interchanges that are too close to one another can cause congestion as some vehicles are accelerating and merging into traffic while others are moving to the right to prepare to exit. This can slow the entire system.”

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