Summer roadwork season starts

WSDOT begins $4M repaving project between Gold Bar, Sultan on U.S. Highway 2

Kelly Sullivan

Construction is underway on Snohomish County’s first state highway paving project of the season.

Issaquah-based construction company Lakeside Industries started work on resurfacing and pedestrian crossing upgrades between mile 21 west of Fern Bluff Road in Sultan and 10th Street in Gold Bar on U.S. Highway 2 on April 24. The $4 million project should finish up in September or October, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

About 18,000 vehicles travel that stretch of roadway every day, said WSDOT project spokesperson Marqise Allen. Trucks account for about 12.5 percent of that traffic, he said.

Allen said the majority of evening commuters, “anyone who drives the regular 9-to-5 shift,” won’t be affected by closures related to the construction. People who regularly pass through the area later in the evening should be prepared for delays, he said.

“It will affect the people who travel around at night, especially concertgoers,” Allen said. “For those who go out to the Gorge (Amphitheater) Friday, and are coming back on Sunday, occasionally on Sunday nights and especially in the summer months, drivers should account for that on their trips back.”

Allen said wait times won’t be anything “too crazy.”

“It all depends on how folks kind of adjust to the work going on out there, whether they take different routes or put off going somewhere,” he said.

The two-lane, eight-mile stretch will be reduced to one lane between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays once paving begins the second week of May, according to WSDOT. The focus will be on restoring pedestrian crossings to meet federal standards for the first few weeks leading up to the surface work.

The project preserves the infrastructure, improves “the ride quality of the highway and extends the life of the roadway. It will also reduce the potential for emergency closures and costly repairs,” according to WSDOT. The state advertised the project for competitive bidding in January, and awarded the contract to Lakeside Industries in March.

It has been about 15 years since the state repaved in the area, Allen said. Potholes are regularly filled in, but the repairs were never a long-term fix, he said.

“Through that section there are a lot of potholes, there are a lot of ruts, a lot of cracking,” Allen said. “We are coming out this summer to make the highway smoother and safer for drivers.”

U.S. Highway 2 runs from its west end in Everett to its east end in Newport at the Idaho border, according to the WSDOT US 2 Route development plan. The state identified four distinct sections  of roadway in the 2007 study because of the length and characteristics of each region the arterial passes through.

In the third section, which extends east of Monroe to east of Gold Bar, the roadway “serves much like Main Street,” for the city of Sultan, town of Gold Bar and unincorporated Startup, according to the plan. It does not have a median, is two lanes, and has two-way turn lanes and left-turn pockets.

Sultan has installed a handful of traffic signals at local intersections along the route, according to the plan. Sidewalks are generally lacking outside of the downtown corridors. However, pedestrian traffic is high between transit stops and businesses especially within the incorporated areas, according to the plan.

The project that extends from Sultan to Gold Bar is one of about half a dozen other state highway paving projects that will take place within the county this summer, Allen said.

“We are excited to get this work done,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Drivers can find travel information on the WSDOT Snohomish County construction update website.

Image courtesy of WSDOT: The Washington Department of Transportation is repaving eight miles of U.S. Highway 2 between Sultan and Gold Bar this summer.


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