Opinion

Investments in transportation network keep Marysville moving forward | GUEST OPINION

When you think of summer, road projects and traffic cones probably aren’t the first images that come to mind, but several projects have been completed this season or will be in the months ahead that will make your drive in Marysville more pleasant and convenient.

Summer and early fall are busy times for our Street Department. Crews are able to take advantage of the drier conditions to complete much needed road maintenance and repairs. Here are some projects that have just been completed this summer or are on the schedule that you should see happening in the coming months:

  • Among the more visible street projects, Public Works Street Crews and contractor Fidalgo Paving and Construction last week completed the 51st Avenue NE shoulder improvements and asphalt overlay between Grove and 80th streets. The shoulder improvements tie into existing sidewalks, creating a more continuous route for pedestrians and improving overall safety for road users. The asphalt overlay will repair the cracked, aging roadway with a smoother ride. The project required “dig-outs;” in other words, repairing the worst sections of the road down to beneath the asphalt where the sub-base has failed, which leads to severe cracking, potholes and a rough ride. Dig-out repairs can be costly due to equipment and time involved, and the added depth of asphalt requiring replacement. The city saved on these costs by performing these repairs using city crews.
  • 10th Street sidewalk (Beach to Cedar) project — Street crews and contractor Reece Trucking and Excavating in July installed sidewalks the south side of 10th Street accessing the Marysville Boys & Girls Club, and built bulb-out sidewalk ramps at 10th and Cedar. The project was funded through the city’s Community Development Block Grant fund.
  • State Avenue overlay from 92nd Street to 100th Street — This project got under way a couple of weeks ago to complete a full structure dig-out and asphalt over lay of this five-lane segment of State from 92nd north to 100th Street. The actual overlay will occur overnight, and businesses will be accessible during the project, with minimal disruption. The project is funded up to $450,000 in federal grant funds, with construction completed at the end of September.
  • 27th Avenue from 169th Street to 172nd Street  — widening of 27th/traffic signal at 169th — significant work will get underway toward the end of the year by the developer building a 240-unit Villas at Lakewood apartment condominiums complex adjacent to Costco and Lakewood Crossing. The project will widen portions of 27th, add frontage improvements and more street lighting, as well as a traffic signal at the intersection of 169th, which is currently a four-way stop.
  • Traffic signal — 53rd Avenue and SR 528 — A federally-funded new traffic signal will be installed at 53rd Avenue and SR 528 nearby and across from the Jennings Nature Park entrance. The signal should be operational by the end of the year.
  • Traffic signal — 55th Avenue and 88th Street — The city is hoping to install a new traffic signal at 55th Avenue and 88th Street, with construction estimated for Spring 2014. The project is funded through a state Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) grant.

While these investments will go a long way toward providing increased safety, reducing traffic congestion and creating a more efficient roadway system — not to mention jobs, our momentum hasn’t slowed on acquiring funding for the large-scale projects so vital to Marysville and Tulalip’s burgeoning transportation network.

During this year’s Legislative session, I made several trips to Olympia, pounding the pavement to rally support for key transportation investments in our region, most notably for I-5 Interchange improvements at SR 529, 156th and 116th Street. Complete funding for the 116th interchange and partial funding for the SR 529 and 156th interchanges were included in a $10 billion transportation package that ultimately failed to gain passage during a special session called by the Governor in June. We were disappointed by the outcome, but not deterred. For anyone who drives these routes below, you know their importance and value.

  • SR 529/I-5 Interchange — The project would complete the current half interchange by building a new I-5 northbound off-ramp onto SR 529 and new southbound on-ramps from SR 529 to I-5, a project that would significantly help mitigate the impacts of any increased freight train traffic resulting from the proposed Cherry Point Coal Export Facility in Whatcom County, if that happens. Regardless, this project would help ease overall traffic congestion downtown especially during peak hours.
  • 156th/I-5 overpass on-off ramps — This project would add on- and off-ramps to the existing bridge that opened in 2012.
  • 116th Street/I-5 Interchange — this project led by our partner, Tulalip Tribes, would replace the existing three-lane bridge with a full standard six-lane bridge Single Point Urban Interchange.

The first two projects require Interchange Justification Reports (IJRs), a document required by Federal Highway Administration officials to demonstrate the need for any project that proposes a new interchange or new access ramps on an interstate. An IJR is a critical early step in getting these built, and equally important, enables us to pursue state and federal funds necessary to get the job done.

These public 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.

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

 

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