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Lake Stevens Highway 9 project changes again

(WSDOT)

Plans for lowering Highway 9 under a newly-constructed interchange in Lake Stevens have changed. Lowering is out and roundabouts are in.

This intersection at Highway 204 is at one of the busiest areas of Highway 9 because of all the shops at Frontier Village. The plan was to lower Highway 9 under 204 to connect the shops and highway, but Kris Olsen at the Washington State Department of Transportation said they ran into a problem.

More of Chris’ Chokepoints

“What we discovered when we entered into our technical analysis is that the ground water is about ten feet below the surface,” she said.  “In order to resist that ground water pressure, we would have had to build some fairly significant walls and footings.”

That design challenge pushed the project significantly over the budget.

“It was going to be $30 million beyond what we budgeted,” Olsen said.  “We had to go back to the drawing board a bit, and we came up with a new design that should work just as well, if not better than the original.”

The new design involves a series of four roundabouts; two on Highway 9 and two on smaller surface streets, providing access to the shopping areas.

“It also provides a lot more options for people to get around the area and in and out of Frontier Village,” Olsen said.

This new design was going to be unveiled to Lake Stevens residents at an open house Thursday night, but that meeting was canceled because of this week’s weather.

In addition to the roundabouts, WSDOT will be adding a lane in each direction of Highway 9 in the same area to improve capacity.

Olsen said construction on the southbound lane should begin this summer. The northbound lane should be added next year, and the entire project should be completed by 2023. The schedule is dependent on some right-away and property purchases that still need to happen.

The entire budget for this project is $69 million.

A 97.3 KIRO FM texter recently asked me about the plans for the Highway 9 and Highway 204 interchange in Lake Stevens. I had highlighted this project before, but the listener wanted an update. If you have traffic or construction questions, please reach me at [email protected] or @KIROTraffic on Twitter.

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