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DOT awards contract for interchange

Phase two of the 172nd Street interchange will be completed with a right turn on ramp from westbound traffic from Smokey Point along with other improvements. The project should be complete by the end of 2010. -
Phase two of the 172nd Street interchange will be completed with a right turn on ramp from westbound traffic from Smokey Point along with other improvements. The project should be complete by the end of 2010.
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ARLINGTON — Just a couple months after finishing a realignment of SR 9 north of Arlington, Washington State Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for another major project in the Arlington area.

Northwest Construction Inc. was hired Jan. 12 to complete the interchange of I-5 and SR 531, a.k.a. 172nd Street. The bridge over I-5 is affectionately known in the Arlington community as Punks’ Bridge, after Oliver “Punks” Smith, the late former city councilman who campaigned for the overpass.

The state legislature allocated $30.5 million to build upon improvements completed in 2006, when the two-lane bridge was expanded to six lanes. The SR 9 project north of town cost $20.7 million.

“The overpass project is an excellent example of how we can reduce congestion by adding capacity to existing infrastructure,” said Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.

“Improving traffic flow at this interchange will help keep people and businesses moving on I-5 and surrounding communities.

Recent commercial development by the city of Marysville has resulted in increased congestion at the interchange, causing long back-ups on weekends and during peak traffic hours. While the new bridge helped to reduce congestion, new developments also contributed to increased traffic on the bridge.

The next stage of the project will take two years, according to WSDOT.

Crews will build a new two-lane ramp from westbound SR 531 to southbound I-5; widen the on- and off- ramps to and from both northbound and southbound, and construct new right-turn lanes from SR 531 to I-5. The new two-lane ramp will provide a free right for westbound drivers turning onto southbound I-5 to reduce back-ups.

Funded primarily from the 2005 gas tax package, crews could start work as early as March and should complete the project by late 2010.

For information about the project, see the Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr531.

Study of SR 531 eastbound

WSDOT is currently studying safety and mobility issues on SR 531 through Arlington, with a corridor pre-design analysis between 43rd Avenue NE and 67th Avenue NE now in process.

Due to increasing traffic volumes and with more growth forecasted for the surrounding area the city of Arlington is encouraging WSDOT to pursue redevelopment of this state highway.

WSDOT’s corridor analysis will assist the city and state legislators as they determine funding for future projects, according to WSDOT officials.

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