This illustration shows what the Locust Way and Larch Way intersections would look like with roundabouts. Traffic would move in a counter clockwise direction through the intersections. The safety improvement aims to reduce backups and collisions that result from drivers stopping on Highway 524 (Filbert Road) to make left turns. (WSDOT)

State to hold open house on Filbert Road roundabouts

LYNNWOOD — The state is moving forward with plans to install a pair of roundabouts on Filbert Road at intersections on either side of where the highway passes under I-405.

Drivers who frequently use Filbert Road (also known as Highway 524) between Lynnwood and Bothell are invited to share their comments at an open house next week.

The section of highway has a higher crash rate than the state average when compared to similar highways. Over the past five years, there have been 81 collisions on Filbert Road at the intersections of Larch Way or Locust Way — about 16 per year. Most were rear-end collisions.

The $4.4 million project is aimed at improving safety, not congestion. Congestion on Filbert Road could see “slight improvement,” however, with left turns no longer blocking through traffic.

About 16,000 trips cross the stretch of highway each day. Those who live in the area say congestion has worsened over the years as more people move into the area or seek alternative routes to I-405.

Rick Ogden has lived in the area for decades and watched the growth. He worries rush hour will only get worse when it’s routed through roundabouts.

“This temporary Band-Aid will help the accidents — because everyone will be going stop to 2 mph during rush hours,” Ogden said.

Widening the road is the best solution, he said. “It was needed 20 years ago,” said Ogden, who believes developers who have built up the area should pay for the costs. “They are strangling this road.”

State planners decided on roundabouts after ruling out four other possible solutions.

Each of the alternatives required a wider highway. Widening would cost “substantially more” than the state is able to spend — the estimate in 2006 was $111 million — because widening would need to address two creeks, a wetland, a narrow bridge built in 1935, right of way, and the I-405 bridge columns.

Some alternatives also were ruled out because of forecasts of worse backups on the order of “more than three football fields long.”

Widening Highway 524 was one of the proposed projects in a massive 2007 ballot measure that was turned down by voters.

Funding for design and construction of the roundabouts will come from pre-existing federal and state funds, WSDOT spokeswoman Kris Olsen said.

WSDOT engineers will be available at Tuesday’s drop-in event to discuss the proposal. Information gathered will help WSDOT finish its plans.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in summer 2018.

Melissa Slager: 425-339-3432; mslager@heraldnet.com.

Open house

What: A WSDOT drop-in open house on plans for two roundabouts on Filbert Road (Highway 524) where it passes under I-405

When: 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Lynnwood High School, 18218 North Road, Bothell

Details: The public is invited to visit and ask questions anytime during the event. No formal presentation will take place, but Washington State Department of Transportation staff will be available to explain several displays, take feedback and answer questions.

More info: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR524/LocustLarchIntersections

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