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Plan to map out future of SR 9

MARYSVILLE With a study set to wrap up in September, the Washington State Department of Transportation hopes to map out the future of
SR 9 for just over the next 20 years.
WSDOTs Richard Warren told Marysville City Council the road development plan now being formulated will address safety and congestion problems along a roughly 30-mile stretch of SR 9 from SR 522 in Woodinville to Schloman Road just north of SR 530 in Arlington.
According to the WSDOT Web site, traffic increased some 25 percent on SR 9 in Snohomish County between 2001 and 2006. In that same time frame, there were 2,513 collisions along the length of SR 9 under study. Those accidents resulted in 1,700 injuries and 12 fatalities. According to Warren, by a small margin, the southern most stretch of the road accounted for the largest number of accidents with 1,097. State Route 9 through Marysville suffered from 1,012 accidents, while State Route 9 from 84th Street NE to Schloman Road saw a mere 404 collisions.
In the course of the current work, officials will take a special look at what a route study group feels are 10 especially problematic intersections along SR 9. In each case, Warren said the study group will come up with recommendations designed to get traffic moving through those intersections more freely and safely.
In Marysville, two SR 9 intersections are under scrutiny: 84th Street NE and SR 92. In Arlington, the intersections being studied sit along SR 530 at Burke Avenue and also at Division Street.
Besides WSDOT officials and technical consultants, the corridor working group consists of officials from various cities through which State Route 9 makes it way, including Marysville and Arlington.
Its definitely a planning tool, said Marysville Assistant City Engineer Jeff Massie, who serves on the working group, along with Marysville Community Development Director Gloria Hirashima.
Arlingtons representative, Public Works Director Len Olive, did not return a phone call.
Warren said previous route plans have led directly to the funding of road improvements by legislators in Olympia or Washington D.C.
Law makers are far more likely to support you if you have a plan, he said. Warren added a couple of projects have sprung from a road development plan completed on US 2, most recently the installation of rumble strips on a long portion of that road.
Warren said the working group has rated intersections on several factors, from traffic forecasting to safety. Traffic flow has been studied at the intersections during both morning and evening peak hours. The plan also tries to project what impact future growth and development in the area might have on the roadway, looking at what conditions might be like as far out as 2030.
In the present day, according to the state, two of the 10 key intersections are rated as failing during morning peak hours. Four arent making the cut in the evening.
Looking to the future, by 2030, the total number of failing intersections reaches five in the morning and 11 in the evening. According to Warren, the state rates intersections on a scale from A to F, with anything lower than D being essentially a failing grade. At such intersections, during peak hours, drivers are likely to have to wait through two traffic light cycles before getting through the intersection.
In Marysville, the intersection of SR 9 and 84th Street earned a grade of D in both the a.m. and p.m. peak hours. SR 92 and SR 9 faired even worse, earning a rating of E from the state. Delays at that intersection were given as 64 seconds during morning peak hours and 75 seconds in the evening. Those were the longest delays of any of the 10 intersections under study. Looking toward the future, if no road improvements are undertaken, the study group believes both intersections will only get worse.
In Arlington, the Burke Avenue intersection is rated as failing, while the Division Street intersection gets a barely passing grade in the morning, then flops in the evening. Projections show evening traffic only worsening at both spots. And while he wasnt referring directly to the Arlington intersections, Warren noted that a rating above the official failing point doesnt mean traffic is free flowing.
For the SR 9 and 84th Street intersection, the study group has several recommendations on the table, including a roundabout and an elevated roadway over 84th Street. Regarding SR 92, Warren said several schemes were studied and discarded. The only recommendation left is to add two left-turn lanes serving westbound traffic on SR 92. Following questions from City Council, Warren and Massie said any changes near SR 9 and SR 92 will have to include the citys plan to punch SR 92 through to Densmore Road.
In Arlington, at SR 530/Burke Avenue, the study group is looking at adjusting traffic signals or, seemingly more ambitiously, realigning Division Street to line up directly with Burke Avenue. The change would eliminate the slight jog SR 530 currently takes along SR 9. The Division Street options also talk about lining up the two sides of SR 53O. Alternately, planners could call for widening eastbound Division Street to accommodate two left turn lanes at SR 9, a move which also clearly would require adding northbound lanes to SR 9.

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