Opinion

Transportation improvements nearing completion | GUEST OPINION

The city of Marysville is in the final stretch of successfully completing key road improvements this fall.

These investments in Marysville’s transportation infrastructure improve safety, ease traffic congestion, support economic opportunity and local businesses, provide jobs, and perhaps most importantly to you, make your daily drive more convenient.

From concept, design and engineering to actual construction, the road to completion for projects such as these can span many years longer than most of us would like to believe, with some projects on the drafting board for more than a decade. Likewise, tough economic times can limit access to state and federal grants that help leverage our own local transportation funds, further delaying the time that it takes to get these projects built.

Fortunately, Marysville benefits from a solid team of elected officials, planners and engineers skillful at securing grants, funding partners, multiple partner agencies and involved citizens who pull together to move forward on identifying vital transportation needs. These groups know the value of a robust transportation system and what it brings to a growing, competitive community.

Here is a look at some key road projects in Marysville to be completed in the weeks and months ahead.

156th Street I-5 Overcrossing

The Lakewood Triangle Access/156th Street I-5 overcrossing project is scheduled to open in November. The overpass, funded through a public-private partnership, will connect Twin Lakes Boulevard and Lakewood with Smokey Point Boulevard and the future manufacturing and industrial jobs center property east of I-5. The overcrossing is key to economic vitality, and will serve as a catalyst for future commercial, light industrial and residential growth in Marysville’s north end. Additionally, it will take pressure off the busy 172nd Street/I-5 interchange a mile north during peak traffic times.

As an example of how long road projects like these can take, the city plans to build freeway on and off ramps for the 156th overcrossing that were included in the original design, but the federal DOT interchange justification report required as part of the project and all the planning that follows could take as long as five years.

51st Street extension to connect 84th to 88th

The 51st Street extension project connecting 84th with 88th  street to create an uninterrupted north-south route of travel through Marysville has been on the city’s wish list for more than two decades. I am happy to report that through in-house design and engineering and pooling available road funds, the road will open by the end of October. Construction of this three-lane extension of 51st near Pinewood Elementary adds school zone improvements that include a bus lane, two bike lanes, curb, gutter and sidewalks. Installation of a traffic signal at 88th and 51st will put the final touch on this project. City engineers expect that the new continuous route will reduce congestion on State Avenue to the west, and 67th and other roads to the east.

SR 529 Ebey Slough Bridge

The state Department of Transportation’s new SR 529 Ebey Slough Bridge is scheduled to open to both directions of traffic in winter 2013, WSDOT officials say, with construction wrapping up in spring. The bridge is on the primary commuter route for drivers traveling between Marysville and Everett. Some 17,000 motorists use this stretch of SR 529 each day, and it is a main route for sailors and their families going to and from Naval Station Everett.

The new fixed-span bridge will do away with congestion caused by bridge openings. With four lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks, the new bridge will increase safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the bridge will be a familiar and visible gateway fixture of Ebey waterfront and our cityscape for years and decades to come as we seek to revitalize downtown and spur economic development.

SR 9/SR92 break in access

Construction crews on this widening and intersection improvement project are completing minor striping and cleanup work this month at the SR9/SR92 intersection in the southeast Marysville area. This project, designed to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow, added more lanes, turn pockets and a new traffic signal. Marysville is partnering with WSDOT to add a fourth westbound leg and access point to the intersection, ultimately creating a new 40th Street corridor in the Sunnyside-Whiskey Ridge area as regional growth occurs.

Transportation touches nearly every aspect of life. These public investments go a long way to add to a safer, more efficient transportation system that supports economic opportunity and a more livable community for our citizens. Plus, these projects keep us moving forward and put people to work during difficult economic times.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091.

 

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