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City promises road improvements, expects some traffic delays
MARYSVILLE Newly appointed as the city public works director, former city engineer Kevin Nielsen recently told City Council his department has "a ton" of roadwork projects lined up for this summer.
While planners presumably intend for those projects to ultimately ease traffic problems, in the short term Nielsen said that decidedly won't be the case.
"There will be delays through the city," he added. "I guarantee you that."
New City Engineer John Cowling outlined several projects that should get underway in the next few weeks or in the course of the coming summer.
Carrying with it probably the biggest potential for traffic snarls, a planned widening of State Avenue also is the biggest bit of work on the drawing board. Cowling referred to the work as Phase III of a larger plan for State Avenue.
Current plans call widening State from two to five lanes between 136th Street NE to 152nd Street NE.
"I would expect delays similar to Phase II a few years ago," Cowling said.
Work should begin within the next two months and last about a year and a half. Final bids are not in, but the city estimates the cost at $15 million. A combination of local, state and federal funds will pay for the work.
Along with the widening, according to the city's capital improvement plan, the overall project calls for installation of sidewalks, new lighting and a new traffic signal at State and 152nd.
Cowling outlined other projects as follows:
n The state plans to reconstruct or overlay portions of SR 528 from west of I-5 to State beginning in May. City engineers decided the state project presented a good opportunity to replace what was described as an aging, cast iron water main beneath that stretch of roadway. Although Cowling did not have a lot of details on the state's plans, he said WSDOT intends to do plenty of night work to minimize traffic interruptions in the affected area
Water main replacement costs have been set as $800,000. A WSDOT spokesman did not return a phone call asking for further details on the overlay project.
n Cowling said the city plans to install what he called a right turn pocket at the intersection of Grove Street and 67th Avenue. The change will affect traffic heading eastbound on Grove and turning onto 67th. According to the city capital improvement plan, a new right turn signal is part of the project. With an estimated price tag of $150,000, the project currently is out to bid but work should begin in May or June.
n Snohomish County plans to raise what Cowling called a dip in the road on 51st Avenue. According to the capital plan, the city is responsible for replacing or relocating water and sewer lines as needed. Cost is estimated at $370,000. For drivers, the real bad news here is that the county plans five weeks of road closures in June and July, according to Cowling.
n At Grove and Alder Avenue, the city plans to replace existing span-wire traffic signals with a steel pole and mast arm arrangement, according to the capital plan. Cost: $120,000. Cowling said the work is not yet out for bid and a timetable has not been determined.
n Cowling said there is at least one more county project that likely will affect Marysville drivers even though it technically takes place outside city limits.
Snohomish officials plan a grinding and overlay of 67th Avenue NE from 100th Street to 136th Street. A county official did not return a phone call, but according to the county Web site, the work also includes installation and replacement of a water main.
The project actually started last summer and resulted in several road closures and according to the Web site, at least one more closure is planned for this summer. The county Web site does not list dates for the closure, but it will affect Armar Road between 108th and 132nd streets NE.