NORTH CREEK, Wash., November 19, 2021 – Snohomish County Public Works held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, November 18, to celebrate the completion of a major construction project on 180th St SE, between Bothell and Mill Creek, stretching from State Route 527 to 23rd Ave SE.
Public Works Director Kelly Snyder initiated the ribbon cutting ceremony by welcoming around 50 attendees and thanked the numerous people involved in the project’s completion including: retired Public Works Director Steve Thompson, Ashley Probart with project construction, and OTAK on design and construction.
“I’m thrilled that we can have a great partnership with all of our funders to make this possible, it’s great for the community, it’s great for the habitat for the fish,” Snyder, Public Works Director told the Lynnwood Times.
Among the other speakers were Executive Director for the Snohomish County Executive Office, Ken Klein, Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) Executive Director, Ashley Probart, and Snohomish County Councilman and Chair of both the Public Works Committee and TIB, Sam Low.
“It’s a great project because it added more lanes of traffic and it also added sidewalks that weren’t here before, and then we were also able to accomplish fish passage because this was a fish barrier – it checked all the boxes,” Low told the Lynnwood Times.
Probart shared a comical story about visiting the site when he joined the TIB. Probart was told to take pictures out on the street which he joked, “I thought it was a test of my new leadership.”
“What [they] didn’t realize is that I’m spry – I was able to avoid all the traffic,” Probart joked. “But what it really conceived is that it was really a safety focus for us.”
After the speakers took their turn to share thanks to notable contributors, Probart presented Executive Director Klein with a commemorative plaque and the ribbon was cut, with County Council member Low doing the honors.
“We really feel this is a huge uplift for the traveling public, it’s much safer the intersection, and we’ve also been able to reconnect the streams that’s better for the environment and the fish that are using this system,” Charlie Green, Design Manager for Snohomish County Engineering Services, told the Lynnwood Times.
Green shared with the Lynnwood Times that the engineering process for a project like this begins by assessing the needs and opportunities of the road, and consulting with environmental partners and tribes while being empathetic to the residents in the area.
“It’s always about remembering that hard work. You think of a successful recipe you might cook and here’s a successful project we’ve had so we’re going to use this recipe over and over again to create other successes in the county,” Green told the Lynnwood Times.
About the project
Snohomish County Public Works first presented the project at a public hearing on July 27, 2017, as well as the other four transportation improvement plans. It passed unanimously and construction began in Spring 2020 with a temporary month-long pause due to a statewide shutdown for COVID March and April of 2020. The project resumed and was completed by Fall 2021 as originally scheduled.
“When I was on the county council we put a plan together, Steve Thompson was the Public Works Director at the time, and him and his team did a great job putting this all together and to know that we got the funding for it to actually get it done in a timely manner is really rewarding,” Terry Ryan, Aerospace Economic Development Director and former Mill Creek Mayor, told the Lynnwood Times.
35th Avenue SE, between 152nd Street SE and SR 524, is a minor county arterial carrying an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) average of over 16,000. Intersecting with Seattle Hill Road at 152nd Street, and Interstate 5 on the west and SR 9 to the east, it is identified as the primary north-south connection between these state routes.
Leading up to the project’s completion, 180th St SE was identified as one of the main corridors for one of the fastest growing areas in Snohomish County, predicting to grow 46% by 2035. Along this corridor, significant residential and high-density housing has occurred and is planned leaving pedestrians and cyclists, including the disabled, difficult passage.
To improve traffic and meet active transportation demands, the Phase 1 Improvements include:
- Expanding the three-lane road to five lanes
- Relocating the Thompson Creek and Silver Creek merger from the north side of 180th St SE to the south side, with each creek flowing beneath 180th St. SE through separate fish-passable culverts
- Constructing sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, planter strips, and gutters within the project boundaries
- Creating new stormwater detention and treatment facilities
- Rebuilding the traffic signals at 180th St SE and Brook Blvd
- Upgrading and relocating Alderwood Water & Wastewater District lines
The added three lane roadway has a continuous middle turn lane, intersection improvements, and traffic signals where warranted. Also, ADA compliant sidewalks were added. The project will also ease congestion during commute hours, include a new drainage system with storm water detention and treatment facilities in compliance with current state and local standards.
180th Street SE to SR 524 previously consisted of two lanes with intermittent sidewalks and shoulders, posted at 35 miles per hour, the minimum to permit future urban level growth under the County GMA Comp Plan. It has experienced 71 collisions in the past three years. The construction now improves safety and provide continuous urban level standards.
Design and construction for the 180th St SE – Phase I Improvement project cost more than $10 million, funded through Washington State Transportation Improvement Board grant of $4 million, Public Works Trust Fund loan of $3 million, and Snohomish County Road funds.
Previous and Future Projects
The 180th St SE – Phase I Improvement Project is part of a larger, $93 million, plan to improve travel ways in the area. The five other projects in the area also include:
- 180th St SE Phase II (TBD)
- Seattle Hill Rd (completed 2018), Transportation Improvement Board grant: $3.6 million
- 35th Ave SE – Phase I (completed 2019), costing $3.6 million
- 35th Ave SE – Phase II (in construction)
- 43rd Ave SE/Sunset Rd (2022/2023)
Two prior projects, SR 96 to 152nd Street SE and 152nd Street SE to 180th Street SE have improved 35th SE to urban level standards by including signalization, center left-turn lanes, bicycle lanes and continuous sidewalks.
Mohammad Uddin, Snohomish County Public Works Traffic Engineer, informed the Lynnwood Times that there has already been a noticeable decongestion in traffic within the completed projects, included 180th St SE. “We’ve already seen significant improvements in the traffic,” Uddin said.