Start planning for it now: in the Spring of 2019, Highway 2 will be undergoing some crucial changes.
After two decades of lobbying and more than one hundred trips to the state capitol, the US 2 Safety Coalition has successfully promoted for improvements that will hopefully mean doing away with the safety sign along the roadside which tracks the number of days since the last serious accident along the twelve mile stretch of road where over so many people have died in the last thirty years.
The Legislature has now allotted funds, $18.9m, for 4-to-6-foot wide medians along the center of the dangerous twelve-mile stretch, as well as rumble strips. The project is due to launch in the Spring on 2019 and wrap up in the Fall of 2020.
In the past, it wasn’t considered feasible due to the abrupt edges along some parts of the road, and the difficulties crews would face attempting to widen the road in order to accommodate the barriers. At this time, WSDOT says nearly 40,000 people traverse Hwy 2, and with the explosive growth in Snohomish County means that number is only going to get higher.
The Coalition is a 501 (c)3 that’s been registered since 1998. It was founded after the deaths of Donna and Robert Moore who were killed in a head-on collision near Fern Bluff Road in Sept of 1997.
Directly from the WSDOT website, here are the details and scope of the project:
New pavement: The asphalt on this stretch of US 2 has outlived its anticipated 15 year lifespan. Most of the pavement hasn’t been updated since 1998. Through the decades, cracks, ruts and potholes have developed. These make the roadway uneven, allowing water to pool and reducing tire traction. This causes drivers to slow down to handle the slick conditions, which increases travel times. Removing the old, worn out asphalt and replacing it with new pavement will provide safer driving conditions and extend the life of the highway.
Wider medians: Contractor crews will build medians to separate the eastbound and westbound lanes. The medians will range in width between four feet and six feet and will extend from Bickford Avenue in Snohomish to Fryelands Boulevard in Monroe. Rumble strips will line the medians and make a loud noise when drivers start to drift. A second, separate project will install a physical barrier in these new medians. That project is currently scheduled for some time in 2020.
Bridge expansion joints: Two expansion joints original to the Pilchuck River Bridge will be replaced. The bridge, just east of South Machias Road in Snohomish, was built nearly 40 years ago. The bridge will be open during repairs, but reduced to just one lane over one summer weekend.
Repaving bridges: In addition to work on the Pilchuck River Bridge, crews will also make necessary repairs while repaving the bridges over French Creek, Farm Road and Woods Creek. Repaving and repairing our existing highways and bridges reduces the need for emergency repairs which can be costly to taxpayers and cause additional congestion if the work must be done during peak commute hours.
Improved intersections: Sidewalk ramps at the intersections of US 2 between Fryelands Boulevard to Cascade View Drive will be updated. These Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades serve to improve these intersection crossings for all users.