Though traffic continues to build on the Riverside Bridge and at the Interstate 5 offramps closest to the Skagit River Bridge closure, the state Department of Transportation intends to stick with its current detour plan and increase its traffic monitoring in the area.
With the first post-holiday weekend commute since the Skagit River Bridge's collapse Thursday, the Department of Transportation is watching how traffic shakes out on a typical business day.
Spokesman Travis Phelps reported a “slight build” in I-5 traffic at the freeway closure points and lots of truck traffic hitting the Riverside Bridge to cross the river between Burlington and Mount Vernon.
At one point Tuesday morning, DOT's traffic Twitter account reported a 1.7-mile back-up on northbound I-5 to College Way, while the back-up going south amounted to half a mile.
The agency plans to install additional traffic cameras throughout the area this week to give traffic managers a better idea of how well the vehicles are moving through the county.
The DOT is still deciding where to place the cameras, Phelps said.
The agency also will continue to adjust traffic light timing to improve flow.
The State Patrol is enforcing traffic laws by stationing troopers at the College Way and Riverside Drive intersection in Mount Vernon and the South Burlington Boulevard and George Hopper Road intersection in Burlington, according to a statement from the agency.
Commercial vehicles, towing trailers and motorists are frequently blocking those intersections while trying to beat the red light and consequently block traffic, the State Patrol says.
Drivers running red lights or blocking intersections may receive a $124 infraction.
Bus delays have declined significantly since DOT timed lights along Burlington Boulevard and Riverside Drive, said Dale O’Brien, executive director of Skagit Transit.
He said the delay from the Chuckanut Drive park and ride to Skagit Station in Mount Vernon was 90 minutes at times. The delay is now closer to 20 minutes, he said Tuesday.
O’Brien said he’s now focusing on the regional connector buses, to and from Boeing in Everett, for example. Skagit Transit may add another bus to that route to ensure they stay on time, and he said the state has offered to help pay for the cost.
Phelps calls this week a “settle out” period in which motorists are learning how to adjust to a major change in their daily routine. He said traffic patterns will continue to change throughout the week while drivers find the best routes for them.
Motorists are traveling through the area mindful of the bridge closure, Phelps said.
“A lot of drivers are pretty darn aware of what’s going on around here,” he said.