State tackles dangerous intersections near I-405
The state is looking to bag two birds with one stone on the alternative route between Lynnwood and Bothell by eliminating delays and making Highway 524 much safer.
Drivers who don’t want to use I-5 or I-405 cram onto Highway 524, also known as Filbert Road, every day to travel between Lynnwood and Bothell. It used to be a locals-only shortcut, but it is now a bonafide commuter route.
There are two points where this road has significant problems, both with delays and safety concerns. At Locust Way and Larch Way, drivers trying to make left turns are routinely stopped because there are no gaps in oncoming traffic. When there is a small gap they turn when they shouldn’t.
“Those two intersections have a higher than average collision rate,” Frances Fedoriska with the Washington State Department of Transportation said. “We’re averaging about one crash every month and seven injuries during a year.”
WSDOT is building two roundabouts, one at each of those locations, to make it safer for drivers turning left and to eliminate the backups behind them.
Why not widen the road? Fedoriska said that would be too expensive.
“About ten years ago, Snohomish County did an estimate for what it would take to widen it and put in those turn lanes. And to widen SR 524 in that area would cost about $111 million.”
That figure was for a much larger widening project that would have expanded the road from east of I-405 up into Lynnwood. But widening a much smaller stretch would also be very expensive.
Locust and Larch ways are on either side of I-405, which travels overhead. It doesn’t give the state much wiggle room.
“You have the swamps and protected land and you also have I-405 smack in the middle,” Fedoriska said.
It’s going to take two full weekend closures of Highway 524 in this area to build the roundabouts. Those closures are expected in late July. Fedoriska said it should make the corridor flow a lot better.
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“You won’t have people stopped trying to make a left-hand turn,” she said. “People can keep moving. It will keep the flow going, and when we have fewer crashes you don’t get stuck in the backup from those crashes.”
The price tag for this is just over $5 million.