Proposed I-5 ramp could ease Fourth Street congestion

MARYSVILLE While the city has numerous road projects planned for this summer and even more in the pipeline, a joint study with Everett could result in a new front porch for the city.

The move also might cut down on traffic problems in the area of the Fourth Street and I-5 interchange, which officials estimate sees about 28,000 cars per day.

Formally public works director, but now sporting the newly created title of Marysville executive director, Paul Roberts said the city has joined forces with its nearest southern neighbor and the Port of Everett to study the feasibility of adding an I-5 interchange to SR 529.

The plan under scrutiny would add a ramp from northbound I-5 to northbound SR 529 and provide an on-ramp to southbound I-5 from SR 529. Essentially, the plan would complete the existing interchange at that location. There already are in place ramps from northbound SR 529 to northbound I-5, as well as a southbound exit from I-5.

From Marysville's point of view, Roberts said new ramps could take some of the pressure off the crowded Fourth Street/I-5 interchange. Potentially, the plan could provide an entirely new access route into Marysville.

While Roberts works for Marysville, he also is a member of Everett City Council. He said from that city's stance, the goal with the ramps is to provide better access to Smith Island. In fact, the ramp study is part of a larger freight mobility study.

Largely undeveloped, Smith Island sits just south of the Ebey Slough Bridge, just over the Marysville/Everett border.

According to Roberts, Everett and the port each are kicking in $65,000 for the study, while Marysville has agreed to contribute $14,000. The Tulalip Tribes are being kept informed regarding the work, Roberts added, as they own potentially affected property.

Roberts referred some questions to the Everett City Engineer Ryan Sass, who could not be reached for comment.

The announced timetable for the study is about six months. Roberts said there is no price estimate yet available for the possible interchange, which may or may not need federal approval. As envisioned at this point, the interchange doesn't meet the federal standard for distance between highway interchanges. But federal involvement or not, Roberts added the interchange plan is at best several years from becoming a reality.

For one thing, Roberts said work on the interchanges would have to follow the replacement and expansion of the SR 529 bridge over Ebey Slough. The state has changed the dates for that project a couple of times, but the latest estimates have work starting in 2010.

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