Long-term congestion relief is in sight for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists passing through the often-busy intersection at 76th Avenue West and 212th Street Southwest. But getting there means enduring a projected eight months of construction delays, bus stop relocations, utility service disruptions and general construction activity within a 300-foot radius of the intersection, after City of Edmonds construction gets underway in April.
City project staff say the work will be complete just before — appropriately — Thanksgiving.
At a community open house Thursday evening, city officials outlined to a group of interested citizens the planned improvements, project schedule and what to expect during construction.
“The improvements will enhance traffic flow by greatly increasing the capacity of the intersection while decreasing delays,” said Capital Projects Manager and project lead Jaime Hawkins. “This means you’ll get through the intersection faster even at peak traffic times of day.”
Changes include adding dedicated left- and right-turn lanes on 76th Avenue, and new traffic signaling that will allow simultaneous flow of traffic north and south, instead of the current situation of one-directional traffic flow (i.e., northbound traffic waits while southbound traffic flows, and vice versa). As a side benefit, these changes will significantly boost air quality because vehicles will spend less time idling in the intersection.
In addition, while the area is dug up, the city will take the opportunity to improve the visual environment and enhance utility reliability by moving overhead power and utility lines underground and upgrading its water, storm and sewer facilities.
According to project staff, another benefit of the project will be the addition of dedicated bike lanes as part of the ongoing Bike2Health project. Funded through South Snohomish County’s Verdant Health Commission and the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, part of the Bike2Health program includes more than 16,000 feet of continuous bikeways along 212th Street between 72nd Avenue and the Five Corners Roundabout, and on 76th Avenue between 220th Street and Olympic View Drive. This work also includes replacement of existing catch basin frames and grates, new permanent signage, modifications to two existing traffic signal systems, and new route and way-finding signage.
Construction is planned to begin on Monday, April 10 and last into November. Drivers are advised to expect protracted delays, especially during peak traffic times. Project staff suggest that drivers traveling north or south use alternate routes along 84th Avenue or Highway 99, and that east-west drivers use 220th or 196th Streets.
More information and ongoing project updates are available on the 76th Avenue West & 212th Street Southwest Intersection Improvements Project web page.
— By Larry Vogel