Street Smarts: I-5 will be smooth by end of September

Construction workers scraped off the old asphalt on northbound I-5 in Everett weeks ago.

Where’s the new pavement?

Driving on the grooved freeway surface is wearing out my arms and my car.

Bump-a-bump, bump-a-bump.

Never fear, a smoother ride is near, said Ryan Bianchi, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Unseen to daytime drivers, bustling work crews have been hammering away at old asphalt every night since the paving project started on Aug. 6, Bianchi said.

There are lots of cracks that have to be sealed in the road’s sub-surface, which requires the asphalt top to be cut away.

Also, hundreds of new “traffic loops” that will be used to count traffic and pinpoint accident locations need to be installed. These dandy items, when combined with traffic cameras, can be used to dispatch an incident response truck or to regulate onramp meters (yes, those pesky meters are coming to Everett).

Paving on northbound I-5 is scheduled to start the day after Labor Day. That work also will take place at night.

Expect to drive on a smooth road surface through the Everett construction zone by the end of September, Bianchi said.

I can’t wait.

Question: Has anyone considered filling the areas around the Marysville cable barriers with a foot of plain old sand?

I think that would stop most vehicles before they hit the barriers. It would cost less than the $28 million proposed for a concrete barrier and maintenance would be minimal.

Gerry Gill, Everett

Answer: Sand and gravel in the median isn’t a feasible option.

It would increase the risk of rollover collisions because vehicles enter the median at varying angles and their tires would catch in the sand or gravel at different times.

Freezing weather might render the sand or gravel useless, creating a more rigid surface that may not slow a moving vehicle.

Travis Phelps, DOT spokesman

Question: Lynnwood’s new traffic cameras are all located on the east sides of their respective intersections. Likewise, signs telling drivers of the photo enforcement are only on the east sides.

My understanding is the signs must be noticeable. Are these cameras only taking pictures of drivers running the lights as they travel westbound? If pictures are being taken of cars traveling in other directions, how are the drivers to know this?

It’s clear that drivers in all directions run the red lights, which makes the one-sign, one-camera approach confusing.

Sue Osgood, Lynnwood

Answer: By contract, it is the camera system operator’s choice where to install the systems. The four locations that they selected had the highest violation rate of those tested, and, by coincidence, all are on the westbound approach.

It is our interpretation of the state law that each location where photo enforcement is active must be indicated by a sign. Each of the four westbound approaches that are photo enforced have a sign.

Les Rubstello, Lynnwood transportation manager

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