ARLINGTON – Travelers and truckers along Interstate 5 near Arlington will have a new place to gas up and eat when the Pilot Travel Center at Island Crossing opens in mid-December.
The new complex on 12.6 acres west of the triangle-shaped intersection at Highway 530 and Smokey Point Boulevard is sure to boost retail activity off Exit 208, but that also means more vehicles in a corridor that already sees more than 19,000 vehicles per day.
A traffic study estimated the travel center owned by Pilot Flying J based in Knoxville, Tenn. ,will add 3,465 trips in and out per day.
The 9,520-square-foot Travel Center will feature a drive-through Arby’s, Cinnabon, PJ Fresh, retail space, outdoor seating, eight truck fueling lanes, 12 gas fuel pumps for cars and three for recreational vehicles, parking and a CAT scale for trucks and parking. Additional amenities include restrooms, showers and public laundry. The Travel Center will create about 70 jobs of which all but a few will be local.
Arlington has hired Everett-based Gibson Traffic Consultant to do an intersection control evaluation to look at alternatives, one that would put a temporary signal on Highway 530 at the west leg of the triangle to more safely divert trucks back onto the highway, city Public Works Director Jim Kelly said.
There will be three access points to the Pilot Travel Center, including two on Highway 530 and one on Smokey Point Boulevard.
Under current channelization plans, trucks must exit the travel center onto the boulevard before getting back onto the highway to reach I-5, while regular vehicles will have full access from a middle turn lane on Highway 530, or the boulevard.
Arlington, Snohomish County and the Stillaguamish Tribe are partnering on the intersection evaluation, which would be submitted to the state Department of Transportation for final review. The tribe operates one of its two River Rock Smoke Shops within the triangle.
Kelly said he hopes the state can expedite the process so a signal can be installed in June.“With an interim signal in place, transportation officials can look at addressing more long-term transportation needs,” Kelly said, adding that consideration needs to be given for future economic development there.
The city’s transportation improvement program calls for an Island Crossing roundabout on the east side of the triangle that would also realign the boulevard and 27th Avenue approaches, at a cost of about $10 million. That long-term option would be funded through a combination of grants, city funds and Pilot Flying J contributions, but wouldn’t likely get under way until 2022 or later.
“Pilot Flying J worked closely with the Department of Transportation and the city of Arlington to obtain the necessary approvals and permits,” said Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Pilot Flying J. “We are committed to being a positive contributor to both the local community and economy.”
Based on the company’s economic impact study, the new Travel Center is projected to generate more than $5 million state and local tax revenues annually, with more than $200,000 anticipated to go to the city as sales and property tax.
“Our continued commitment to connect people and places with comfort, care and a smile drives our expanding network of more than 750 travel centers across the United States and Canada,” Myers said.
Myers said Arlington is the first new travel center built in Washington since 2012 when then the company opened the Ferndale location about an hour north on I-5.