172nd Street work coming this year; it’s not the big widening project

ARLINGTON – The city of Arlington recently hired an engineering firm to design a new signalized intersection at 40th Avenue NE on 172nd Street NE, with construction planned in the fall.

While the project is sure to help move traffic more efficiently, city officials want to make certain that frequent drivers through the 172nd corridor don’t get the idea that this is an early start for a larger, long-awaited project.

It isn’t.

The state’s major Highway 531 (172nd Street) widening project is still scheduled for 2023. Arlington public works director Jim Kelly said the city is working with WSDOT and other stakeholders on the widening design for the $39.3 million project. Part of a $16 billion Connecting Washington gas-tax funding package in 2016, money for the design phase wasn’t released until 2019, and construction dollars can’t be used until July 2023.

While the coming intersection project may be small by comparison, it does showcase several of the improvements and amenities that will be incorporated throughout the entire two-mile, five-lane corridor from 43rd to 67th Avenue.

The city awarded a $161,538 contract Everett-based Perteet Engineering to design the intersection project, which is being funded by a $1.1 million state Transportation Improvement Board grant.

In conjunction with the signal, the project will remove the center turn lane from Smokey Point Boulevard to 43rd Avenue, install a handicapped-compliant pedestrian crossing, and add bus stop pull outs on the northwest and southwest corners.

The city will be rolling out the Complete Streets aesthetic, featuring planting median strips, street trees, wider sidewalks and bike lanes that benefit all types of travelers: drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders.

The intersection will also serve Cedar Pointe Apartments at 17209 40th Ave. NE, a 255-unit, four-story affordable senior housing project. The project being built by AMWA Development on four acres is expected to open in August. The community will feature open air courtyards, fitness walks, a community garden, fire pit and barbecue area, activity rooms, private dining rooms, a business center and other amenities.

A medical facility is planned on frontage property between the apartments and 172nd.

When Highway 531 improvements are completed in 2024, construction will get underway a year later on the 156th Street/I-5 interchange in Marysville, which will add on- and off-ramps to take some of the pressure off 531.

Transportation officials said 172nd averaged 18,000 vehicles per day 20 years ago, and is now handling 26,000 vehicles, with an average of three serious crashes annually.

For more details about the Arlington Transportation 2035 Plan (comprehensive plan) and how other future road projects will create more connectivity, visit http://arlingtonwa.gov/398/Transportation

The newly-designed 40th Avenue NE will access the 255-unit Cedar Pointe Apartments senior affordable housing opening in August.

The newly-designed 40th Avenue NE will access the 255-unit Cedar Pointe Apartments senior affordable housing opening in August.