CHOKEPOINTS

Roundabout to slow traffic on Hwy 9 in Snohomish

Aug 9, 2022, 6:15 AM | Updated: 1:48 pm
roundabout...
(Photo by: Don and Melinda Crawford/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
(Photo by: Don and Melinda Crawford/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Are you ready for a discussion on a very controversial traffic calming solution? We’re talking about roundabouts today because Highway 9 in Snohomish County is about to be closed down for about a week to put one in.

@kirotraffic A new roundabout is coming to Snohomish at Highway 9. But it does mean temporary closures. #chokepoint #localtraffic #kiro #snohomish #snohomishcounty #snohomishwa #highway9 #snohomishhighschool #construction #roundabout #roadclosure #roadimprovement #urbanplanning #leftturn #dangerousdriving #washington #washingtontraffic #localmedia #radio #kironewsradio #kironews #fyp ♬ Tokyo Drift – Xavier Wulf

While putting-in roundabouts on Highway 9 isn’t something new for the Washington State Department of Transportation, the latest location is interesting because of the speeds driven there and left-hand turns in front of cross traffic.

The roundabout is going in where Highway 9 meets Bickford Avenue and Avenue D in Snohomish.

I drive this spot a lot, and cars routinely drive 60 miles an hour or more on that stretch of highway, all while drivers are trying to cross in front of them with left-hand turns. It can also back up during heavy congestion, making those left hand turns or even just entering the road difficult.

WSDOT’s Tony Black said a roundabout was the best way to ease the situation.

“It was mostly to improve traffic flow in the area,” Black said. “There are some safety elements into it as well.”

I talked to a few drivers in the area last week, and as you might expect roundabout support is mixed.

“I think it will be a good thing,” one driver told me. “They help keep the traffic flowing.”

Another was concerned it would make congestion worse.

“Highway 9 is going to be nothing but stop and go,” he worried.

To build this roundabout, WSDOT is going to close Highway 9 for about a week. The closure begins on August 16th at 8 p.m. The closure is between 2nd Street in south Snohomish and 30th Street, though the work is centered at Bickford and Avenue D.

Southbound drivers will get a little bit of a break during the middle of the closure. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, the southbound lanes will be open between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.

There are two defined detours.

If you are just traveling through, you are asked to take U-S 2 to get around Snohomish, exiting at 88th and taking 2nd Street through the city. That’s the southbound detour. Northbound is the opposite.

For those needing to get into Snohomish, you are asked to use Bickford Avenue and Avenue D, accessing the north end at 30th and using Airport Way on the south end.

“We don’t want to send all of the cars through all of the local neighborhoods.” Black said. “Just take Highway 2.  It will only add about five minutes to your drive.”

I expect this roundabout to take a little time to get used to, especially for those drivers who hit 60-plus on that stretch of Highway 9. The roundabout should be open on August 22nd before the morning commute.

And don’t forget the number-one rule of roundabouts.

“The people already in the roundabout have the right-of-way,” Black said.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Roundabout to slow traffic on Hwy 9 in Snohomish