Improving traffic and pedestrian safety is a key factor behind a major City of Edmonds construction project on Highway 99 that will complete the missing link of roadway on 228th Street from Highway 99 to 76th Avenue West. But the project will also provide yet another route for commuters to travel between Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, with connections to transit and Interstate 5.
Construction crews began work last week on the 228th Street Southwest Corridor project, which will include improvements at two crash-prone intersections where 76th Avenue West meets Highway 99 both northbound and southbound. Funding comes from grants: $4.7 million from the federal government and $1.7 million from the state. Most of the work is expected to be complete by this fall, although since the schedule is weather dependent some finishing touches may be delayed until next year, said City of Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams.
The city was able to secure grant funding for the effort “because of the really high accident rates at those two intersections,” said Williams, who joined other city staff and contractors Thursday night to discuss the project elements with interested residents during an open house.
Currently, for drivers headed eastbound on 228th Street Southwest from Edmonds toward Mountlake Terrace, the road ends at Highway 99 (where Country Farms Produce is located). One block east, 228th Street begins again at 76th Avenue West, where it heads east through Mountlake Terrace, becoming Lakeview Drive. The project will involve building a roadway over the strip of property between Miller’s Rent All to the south and the Olympic Financial Center to the north (see blue section in the map), and installing two signals — one at 228th Street Southwest and Highway 99, and the other at 228th and 76th.
In addition, the city will be extending the center median on Highway 99 (see red in map) so that drivers can no longer make a southbound left turn from 76th Ave to Highway 99.
“It’s a difficult movement,” City Engineer Rob English said of the diagonal turn off Highway 99 onto 76th, “and trying to make that when you have oncoming northbound traffic is a challenge and a safety issue. So we are actually going to be closing that with a median and directing traffic up to 228th, where we’ll be making that roadway connection.”
Another improvement will be at now “skewed” northbound entrance to Highway 99 from 76th (see green area in the map), where the intersection will be adjusted for “a more perpendicular approach,” English said, “so that it’s much easier to observe traffic and make a much safer move onto northbound 99.” That same adjustment will occur for traffic headed southbound on 76th and turning right onto Highway 99 near Public Storage, he added.
With the new traffic signal at Highway 99 and 228th, drivers heading southbound on Highway 99 will have a protected left-hand turn onto 228th. That signal will be timed with the other signal at 76th and 228th to ensure efficient traffic flow, English said.
In addition, the project will be beneficial to bicyclists who travel through the area on the Interurban trail, offering a direct connection to either Edmonds or Mountlake Terrace by crossing Highway 99 at 228th. In fact, the project will provide both cyclists and vehicles with an easier route through Mountlake Terrace, since Lakeview Drive leads to Interstate 5 and the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center.
The City of Mountlake Terrace, which is already building a new bike trail along Lakeview Drive, is partnering with Edmonds on the project and the two cities are coordinating the timing of construction in both areas.
Pedestrians who have few options for safely crossing Highway 99 will be able to take advantage of an additional signalized intersection, English said, adding that the new stretch of roadway will include sidewalks between the highway and 76th Avenue.
Edmonds will be improving existing 228th Street road surfaces with pavement overlays east from 80th Avenue West to Highway 99, and again from 76th Avenue West to Lakeview Drive, at which point Mountlake Terrace will have its own crews engaged in road reconstruction.
Since the new street will add more impervious surfaces to the area, that means increased stormwater flows to both nearby Hall Creek and Lake Ballinger. So the project will include additional facilities for stormwater treatment. The most notable of these is a 31-foot-by-124-foot detention vault now under construction, which will be located underneath the new roadway. “This will provide benefit for Lake Ballinger because a lot of the area that we are working in, drains to the lake,” English explained.
The project is also tied to another grant the city has received for lighting improvements between 212th and 220th Streets Southwest, and will include the addition of 19 pedestrian decorative lights on that segment of Highway 99, now being referred to as the Hospital District for its proximity to Swedish Edmonds.
Construction Project Manager Jaime Hawkins noted that in a few areas near the construction, residents and businesses may have their water shut off while water and sewer utility work is being conducted. Those affected will be given a week or two of notice via door-knob hangers, Hawkins said.
The city has dedicated a web page to the 228th Street and Highway 99 Corridor project here, where neighbors can find regular construction schedule updates, English said.