Why are there doors in freeway noise barriers?

  • By Bill Sheets Herald Columnist
  • Monday, August 22, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

Julianna Opdahl, third grade, of Lake Stevens writes: Why are there doors in the noise barriers along the freeway? Where do they go?

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Julianna asks a great question — in fact, it may be something many people have wondered as they’ve driven on I-5 near Everett.

Unfortunately, the doors in the wall don’t lead anywhere really exciting — just to the other side of the wall. Different doors are for different things. Many of the doors lead to fire hydrants on the other side of the wall. That way if there’s a fire or some kind of emergency on the freeway, the fire trucks can run a hose to a nearby fire hydrant. Other doors are for maintenance — so crews can easily get to both sides of the wall to do any mowing, cleanup or repair work that might be needed.

Howard Bird of Sultan writes: Is there anything that can be done about the dip in the eastbound lane of U.S. 2 just east of Monroe?

The dip seems to be getting larger and currently takes up about two-thirds of the width of the eastbound lane. There are no warning signs and it does cause a jolt when you are eastbound and causes the headlights of eastbound vehicles to flash into on coming traffic.

Mishler of the transportation department responds: Our maintenance crews are familiar with this dip in the road. According to our maintenance supervisor, the dip is worst on the right shoulder and the edge of the driving lane, but as Howard mentioned, there’s also a small dip in the center of the lane. We have no plans to repair the area right now. Our maintenance crews are working on several more serious roadway maintenance issues throughout Snohomish County, but will continue to monitor the area and make improvements in the future if needed.

Diana Haynes of Marysville writes: I would like to know why there is a street light on Broadway at 18th Street in Everett that points in only one direction. Drivers on 18th do not have a light.

Dongho Chang, traffic engineer for the city of Everett, responds: The signal light at Broadway and 18th Street is a pedestrian crosswalk signal that stops traffic on Broadway only to allow walkers to safely cross the busy street.

There are many seniors who cross Broadway to shop at Safeway. Car traffic on 18th Street did not meet the criteria to install a full traffic signal at that intersection. The construction for the crosswalk signal was funded by a safety grant.

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