How WSDOT wants to fix I-5 congestion through Marysville

May 27, 2015, 4:03 PM | Updated: May 28, 2015, 6:06 am
(MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

If you’ve driven I-5 lately between Marysville and Everett, you know the infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth.

There are now more than 65,000 people living in Marysville, which is 5,000 more than in 2010, 40,000 more than in 2000, and 55,000 more than in 1990.

That’s not just growth, it’s explosive growth. And I-5 doesn’t have the ability to handle that explosion.

Adding to the congestion are the train tracks right off the main exit to Marysville. About 17 to 20 trains run through every day and the tracks are just two blocks east of the exit. Those trains back up access from I-5, creating gridlock on the freeway.

So what’s the state doing about it?

“One of the innovative projects we currently have on the books is to basically widen the shoulder for about five miles on northbound I-5 right between Everett and Marysville and use that as an extra lane during the peak commutes,” said Travis Phelps with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“We were hoping to squeeze a little bit more out of this stretch of road. It’s not going to eliminate the congestion, but it’s hopefully going to keep traffic moving.”

The other idea is to build a new off-ramp connecting to Highway 529, which is south of the existing Marysville exits. It would also drop drivers into the city east of the train tracks.

“In a perfect world, we would be able give folks another way into Marysville, help I-5 flow a little bit more efficiently, and give folks that easy out into one of the faster growing cities in the nation,” Phelps said.

But of course, these plans will go nowhere unless the Legislature comes up with a transportation package.

“We start discussions with the Legislature and hope that we can get some funding that we need,” Phelps said. “We’re hoping that these projects will help some of this congestion from getting much worse.”


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How WSDOT wants to fix I-5 congestion through Marysville