WSDOT to address I-5 chokepoints between Everett, Marysville

Mar 2, 2023, 5:01 AM | Updated: 9:30 am
I-5 chokepoints...
It has been eight years since I first started talking about a fix to the daily chokepoint on Interstate 5 between Everett and Marysville. And finally, work is set to begin on a major improvement project next week. (Chris Sullivan/KIRO Newsradio)
(Chris Sullivan/KIRO Newsradio)

It has been eight years since I first started talking about a fix to the daily chokepoint on Interstate 5 between Everett and Marysville. And finally, work is set to begin on a major improvement project next week.

North-end drivers know exactly what I’m talking about, that daily backup from the Boeing Freeway to Marysville. But it’s not just a weekday commuting thing. It can happen on weekends or for no apparent reason at all.

And it’s a function of the current freeway design. You have on and off-ramps to downtown Everett. You have on and off-ramps from Highway 2, and you have the exit to Marine View Drive. All within about a mile of each other.

Grab bag: Where will Road Usage Charge funds go?

All that weaving and lane changing just bogs down the freeway, and then you have all the lane changing in Marysville.

“It’s hazardous too because you’re going 60 miles an hour and, all of a sudden, the traffic stops,” the Washington Department of Transportation‘s Kurt Batdorf said. “It’s really been a trouble spot for a long time.”

Work is beginning next week to add a northbound HOV lane between Marine View Drive and just south of Marysville.

“The problem is there are just too many people, too many drivers, too many vehicles using the available lanes,” Batdorf said. “We think that this HOV lane will help get that traffic moving through the area more efficiently.”

The project also includes a new I-5 off-ramp to State Route 529, giving drivers another option to get into Marysville.

So why is that important? The main Marysville exit to 4th Street is routinely backed up by freight trains.

“The crossing on 4th Street before State Avenue gets backed up several times a day,” Batdorf said. “This gives you an opportunity to get into Marysville without having to go across the railroad tracks.”

There will also be a new on-ramp from southbound SR 529 onto I-5.

Batdorf said engineers are squeezing the new HOV lane into the current freeway footprint. To do that, they have to repave the northbound shoulder and move the lanes.

The new lanes in the area will also be a foot thinner than they are currently, from 12 feet to 11 feet. They are staying within the current footprint because widening the road would have required expanding several bridges, and that would have cost a lot more money.

And this will only add a northbound HOV lane. I asked Batdorf why not do the same southbound.

“Even though there is more traffic on the southbound lanes, there isn’t the amount of merging that goes on,” Batdorf said.

More from Chokepoints: Time to pay up or face Good to Go! toll fees and penalties

There will be a lane shift on southbound I-5 through the construction zone, but that’s just to create a work zone in the middle of the freeway.

Drivers should expect nighttime work, weekend work, and lane closures throughout this project, which is set to take two construction seasons. That means the fall of 2024 is when this should wrap up.

This project should really improve the conditions between Everett and Marysville, but I’m not sure just how much it’s going to help the congestion in downtown Everett. There is just so much merging there during peak time, I am expecting those daily backups to continue.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


homeless encampment...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT’s homeless initiative showing some early signs of success

I think we all realize just how tough it is to clear homeless camps from the freeway, and only kicking people out doesn't work.
4 days ago
Chris Sullivan

SR-520 drivers won’t be getting a lane back for another year

This is not the news westbound State Route 520 drivers want to hear, they will not be getting their second lane back to Interstate 5 any time soon.
6 days ago
Seattle construction...
Chris Sullivan

Construction season is year-round across the Pacific Northwest

There is no such thing as construction season. There is so much work to do around the state that those orange cones are going to be with us year-round.
13 days ago
SR 99 tunnel toll, WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

Time to pay up or face Good to Go! toll fees and penalties

Have you checked your Good to Go account or searched those piles of mail in your house for a forgotten toll bill?
19 days ago
road usage charge...
Chris Sullivan

Grab bag: Where will Road Usage Charge funds go?

The plan is to eliminate the gas tax and replace it with a 2.5-cents-a-mile road usage charge, starting voluntarily in 2025.
20 days ago
Montlake Project...
Chris Sullivan

SR-520 Montlake Project to hit milestone this weekend

All lanes of State Route 520 will close between Interstate 5 and 92nd on the eastside at 11 p.m. Friday night through the weekend.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
WSDOT to address I-5 chokepoints between Everett, Marysville