U.S. 2 gets an extra $5 million in roads budget

OLYMPIA — State lawmakers Monday got a bit more serious about fixing the “killer highway.”

House and Senate transportation leaders put out their 2008 roads budget with $14 million for improvements on U.S. 2, an increase of $5 million from earlier budgets.

“Wow, that is tremendous,” said Fred Walser, chairman of the U.S. 2 Safety Coalition. “This is incredible when we didn’t expect to get anything.”

Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, the chairwomen of the Legislature’s transportation committees, agreed to the increase during their budget negotiations Saturday.

“It’s a good beginning,” Clibborn said of the spending package the House of Representatives is expected to vote on tonight.

She said it’s not the long-term answer but should give east Snohomish County residents confidence that the Legislature is listening to their cries for help in curbing the death toll on the route.

Since 1999, 47 people have lost their lives on U.S. 2 between Stevens Pass and Everett.

Though the state estimates $2 billion in improvements are needed on U.S. 2, the $14 million is a larger chunk than area legislators and community leaders anticipated receiving this session.

“It’s quite a commitment,” said Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe. “Considering things did not look well when we started this session, we’re moving in a very good direction.”

Rep. Liz Loomis, D-Snohomish, a member of the House Transportation Committee, said, “It’s the start of something pretty great, but ultimately U.S. 2 needs to be widened to a four-lane highway.”

The transportation budget issued Monday also contains:

$26.9 million for replacing cable barriers with a concrete median on northbound I-5 in Marysville;

$85 million for three vessels to replace the Steel Electric-class ferries pulled from service in November;

$355,000 to add two ferry runs a day on the Keystone-Port Townsend route from May 19 to Sept. 8;

$100,000 to study the potential of commuter rail service between Snohomish and Redmond;

$18.5 million for higher fuel costs for state troopers, ferries and the Department of Transportation.

For U.S. 2, the state will provide $10 million for a project between Gold Bar and Monroe chosen by the Highway 2 Safety Coalition and the transportation department. The other $4 million is a mix of county, state and federal dollars already earmarked for grinding centerline rumble strips between Monroe and Sultan.

Walser said residents can offer project ideas at the coalition’s March 24 meeting.

He said the increased amount of money may mean plans for a passing lane west of Sultan will be dropped in favor of something at the intersection of Fern Bluff Road and U.S. 2, where several fatal accidents have occurred.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, has pointed to the section around Fern Bluff Road as a better location for the money because more accidents occur there than where the passing lane is proposed.

“My hope is they would go after a project in an area with a history of fatalities,” said Kristiansen, who serves on the House Transportation Committee.

The proposed budget also directs the Washington State Patrol to station six troopers on patrol on U.S. 2.

“Those troopers will be there by the end of the year. They will make a difference,” Haugen said.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A worker disassembles a fluidized bed incinerator at the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In Edmonds, $26M goes to a cleaner way to get rid of poop

The city will reduce its wastewater carbon footprint by dumping an incinerator and using new technology.

The Voting Commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft Legislative District maps Tuesday. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Early maps of legislative districts endanger some incumbents

Under one redistricting proposal, Mill Creek joins Everett. Under another, Monroe joins Wenatchee.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

Driver who died in Everett car crash identified

Thomas Ogden, 43, was driving Tuesday morning on Rucker Avenue at 41st Street when another car crashed into his.

Granite Falls altercation: Dog killed, man shot in head

A 20-year-old man allegedly shot an intruder, 54, who threatened two people and killed their dog.

Man found dead in Mountlake Terrace homeless camp identified

Oscar Banos Mejia, 40, was discovered in the bushes along the Interurban Trail on Friday afternoon.

Police respond to a crash in which Isaiah Funden, 24, of Marysville, died after his motorcycle collided with a car Monday morning on the Snohomish River Bridge. (Everett Police Department)
Motorcyclist who died in Everett bridge crash identified

The Marysville man, 24, was involved in a collision with a car and ejected into the Snohomish River.

Callie Childers 20210921
Car of slain Marysville woman was set on fire

Her body was found along a remote stretch of U.S. 2, east of Stevens Pass. Her car was found near Snohomish.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff (center) takes a ride on light rail from the Angle Lake Station in Seatac with King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) on Sept. 21, 2016. (Ian Terry / Herald file)
CEO of fast-growing Sound Transit system to step aside

The search will begin soon to replace Peter Rogoff, who leads the multibillion-dollar transportation network.

Most Read