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Washington Department of Transportation has some bigger projects scheduled for this coming spring and summer, according to Frances Fedoriska with WSDOT Communications. More information will be released, and posted online, when available.

• Skagit County

SR 538/College Way: Mount Vernon city contractor, Granite Construction, has started work on a widening project under Interstate 5. The project will add lane capacity and is expected to help reduce congestion. Short-term, expect lane closures as the work progresses. To learn more, the city’s project website has link at the bottom where you can sign up for construction information and road closure notifications.

SR 536 – Downtown Mount Vernon: After the Tulip Festival in April, the road will be repaved from the west bridge to I-5, and pedestrian crossing areas will be improved.

• Island County

SR 20 – Deception Pass Bridge will be painted, and a roundabout will be built at Banta/Northgate on SR 20.

Clinton Ferry Terminal – Work begins Feb. 11 to widen the road, add separate pick up and drop off zones, pedestrian platform, retaining wall and improve sidewalks. 

• Snohomish County

I-5 – 116th Street NE: The Tulalip Tribes workers finished installing permanent signals Jan. 27 at the Marysville interchange.

I-5 – Starbird Road to Arlington: Crews returned Jan. 27 to continue the two-season concrete rehab project on I-5 in Skagit and Snohomish counties. Crews will work at night through fall. Expect occasional lane closures.

I-5 – Ebey Slough Bridge: Paving project continues as the contractor repairs and repaves 15 miles of interstate in the Marysville area.

US 2 – I-5 to Bickford: The westbound trestle needs two more weekend closures — with no rain — so contractor crews can complete rehabilitating the Hewitt Avenue trestle.

US 2 – Bickford to Sofie Avenue: Crews will repave 13 miles of US 2 and install some medians to separate the eastbound and westbound lanes.

US 2 — Index and Skykomish: Stretches of US 2 between the towns will be resurfaced, starting in the spring, with most work (i.e. biggest delays) happening during the summer.

SR 530 — near Trafton, east of Darrington: Two new culverts will be installed in Trafton and Schoolyard creeks, along with bank stabilization work near the new Sauk-Suiattle Bingo Hall along the highway and Sauk River.

SR 9 – 108th roundabout: Project was delayed, and now scheduled to happen in 2019.

For updates and advisories:

- See @WSDOT, wsdot.wa.gov or dial 511. The WSDOT traffic app, @wsdot_north, can be set up to send text alerts.

- WSDOT’s traffic information radio stations are 530 AM and 1610 AM.

- Check out winter driving tips and information at wsdot.wa.gov or dial 511 and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading out.


Transportation Fair to offer commuter options

Island Transit will host a Transportation Fair 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2, at the Stanwood Community and Senior Center, 7430 276th St. NW, Stanwood. Learn about Island Transit’s commuter options, buses and bike services, and such programs as County Connections, Vanpool and RideLink. Pick up a new schedule showing extended Saturday routes. Island Transit offers fare-free bus service on Camano and Whidbey Islands, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Everett. Call 360-678-9536 to inquire.

New SR 99 tunnel

The new SR 99 Cascade Tunnel opened Monday, Feb. 4, after a weekend of celebrations, ribbon cutting, run/walk and bike ride. But does everyone remember why the tunnel was needed to replace the now closed Alaskan Way Viaduct?

In 2001, the Nisqually earthquake shook the Seattle region and the viaduct along with it. The viaduct was repaired and strengthened, but the aging structure was still vulnerable to earthquakes and a modern replacement was needed.

The viaduct through Seattle closed permanently Jan. 11. Its replacement, the two-mile Cascade Tunnel, was carved out underneath downtown Seattle.

Related structures, the Battery Street Tunnel and its Western Avenue on-and-off ramps, closed permanently on Feb. 1. Traffic disruptions are expected for several more weeks.

The viaduct’s vulnerability to earthquakes was the biggest motivation for its replacement. The modern tunnel’s sophisticated systems are designed to help keep vehicles moving and travelers safe – even during earthquakes. The new tunnel is designed to withstand a 2,500-year quake – roughly a magnitude 9, off the coast of Washington state. 

WSDOT says its seismic design, along with cutting-edge safety features combine to make this new tunnel one of the “safest and smartest in the world.”

“The viaduct was built in the 1950s and seismic design is now light years ahead of what we knew back then,” said David Sowers, deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “Ultimately, replacing the viaduct is all about keeping people safe and this new tunnel meets the gold standard for safety.”

Check for recalls

Every vehicle recall is serious and affects the safety of the driving public. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends drivers check every fall and spring for any open recalls on their vehicles at NHTSA.gov/recalls. In 2017, 813 new vehicle safety recalls affected more than 30 million vehicles in the United States. Vehicle recall repairs are free and do not expire.

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