By Jon Nehring
In city government, we often need to take the long view and plan far ahead to achieve desired results. That’s certainly the case for major infrastructure projects that can cost millions of dollars and require partnerships with many jurisdictions.
A great example of this is the new Interstate 5/Highway 529 interchange. This project will complete the half-interchange by building a new I-5 northbound offramp to Highway 529 and new southbound onramp from Highway 529 to I-5.
Adding a new south Marysville freeway exit will reduce congestion at the I-5 Exit 199 interchange at 4th Street, which was identified by the Washington State Department of Transportation as a high-accident location.
WSDOT will also use this opportunity to review how people who bike and walk on Highway 529 can be better served with these improvements.
This new traffic alternative will give drivers the option to avoid at-grade railroad crossings that cause significant delays to our city road network.
In this project, over the past several years the city completed preliminary design, started environmental review and obtained federal approval to move forward.
At the same time, to add additional congestion relief, WSDOT will add a hardened shoulder lane on the northbound stretch of I-5 between Marine View Drive in Everett and Highway 528 in Marysville.
With about 65,000 cars using our northbound lanes of I-5 each day, this project will help drivers who currently experience heavy congestion and long commute times.
State funding of these projects included $84.4 million through the Connecting Washington Transportation Package that was approved by the state legislature in 2015.
We worked closely with our state legislators to advocate for the funding of these transportation improvements for Marysville’s residents and businesses. Project design is expected to wrap up in spring 2020. Construction will start in 2021 and conclude in 2022.
The city of Marysville is building a companion First Street Bypass project that will help disperse traffic from the new interchange east to our Sunnyside and other eastside neighborhoods and Highway 9. This traffic alternative will provide relief to our busiest intersection at 4th and State. The bypass from State Avenue east toward Sunnyside also avoids delays from crossing train tracks.
We expect to start construction on that project this year.
We will also start construction this year on the widening of State Avenue from 100th to 104th Streets NE over Quil Ceda Creek.
Funded in part by a $5 million grant from the state Transportation Improvement District, this project will widen State from three to five lanes and include curb, gutter and sidewalk along with street lighting to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.
In future years we hope to again partner with the state to complete the further widening of State Avenue to five lanes north to 116th Street.
These important transportation projects take time, and we have been consistently working on them for years.
We are grateful for our excellent partnership with the state that facilitates our ability to deliver on the city’s long-term vision.
Jon Nehring is the mayor of Marysville. His column runs monthly.