Use Ebey Island road to solve U.S. 2 trestle merge? No can do

You know what I love about you Street Smarts readers? You’re problem-solvers.

Jeff Stanley of Lake Stevens writes: “Regarding the merging of SR 204 and 20th Street SE onto the trestle (U.S. 2), has anyone looked at the possibility of 20th Street SE under the trestle at the eastern end being opened up to westbound traffic? Right now, it is restricted to eastbound only, but the pavement there seems wide enough that all that would be needed is new striping. The westbound traffic from 20th Street SE could then simply go all the way down the hill, head across Ebey Island and then merge onto the trestle at the onramp at 50th Avenue SE, alleviating traffic for all by moving one of the merge points further down the road.”

You know what I hate to tell you Street Smarts readers? The same answer for most of these trestle questions: Great idea! No can do.

Tom Pearce of the Washington State Department of Transportation responds: “While the bridge across Ebey Slough is indeed wide enough for two-way traffic, the lower roadway across Ebey Island was not designed or constructed to handle high volumes of traffic and heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses and is not suitable for that. This type of use would quickly create a major maintenance issue because of the poor saturated soil conditions and the relatively thin pavement section.

“The other issue is the on-ramp from 50th Avenue Southeast on Ebey Island to westbound U.S. 2. This ramp was sufficient at the time it was built, but it no longer meets WSDOT guidelines for room to accelerate and merge. Directing more traffic onto this ramp in its current configuration would simply create a new problem in another location.”

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