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All US 2 traffic funneled into one lane next week in Sultan, Index

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Date:  Thursday, April 05, 2012

Contact: Bronlea Mishler, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4696 (Shoreline)
Tim Nau, WSDOT assistant project engineer – Rice Road, 425-225-8726 (Everett)
Dave Crisman, WSDOT project engineer – Anderson Creek, 360-848-7103 (Mount Vernon)

Drivers could see 90-minute delays in Sultan, 10-minute delays for Index

SULTAN – Major construction is expected to cause traffic delays on US 2 starting Sunday evening, April 8. Drivers headed east or west between Sultan and Index should plan extra travel time once crews funnel all traffic on the two-lane highway into one lane.

Delays in Sultan are expected to be heaviest, but for only five days. In Index, delays should average 10 minutes, but work is expected to last for up to 19 days.

Sultan: Rice Road roundabout construction April 8-13
Rainy weather last week played an April Fool’s prank on crews ready for the final push of construction on the Rice Road roundabout on US 2 in Sultan. Despite the delay, crews are eager to begin the five-day lane closure this Sunday, April 8, and drivers should prepare for major daytime delays.

Lakeside/Tri-State Construction crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will narrow US 2 at Rice Road to one lane around the clock from 7 p.m. Sunday, April 8, to 6 a.m. Friday, April 13, when the new roundabout will open to traffic. Flaggers will guide both directions of US 2 through the work zone.

“Anytime we close a lane on US 2, we know it’s a big challenge for drivers,” said Gil McNabb, WSDOT engineering manager. “Doing the closure this week is a little trickier because school will be back in session. We’ve worked with the school district and we have a plan in place to get school buses through the work zone as quickly as possible.”

The single-lane roundabout at Rice Road is designed to reduce the risk of serious collisions, particularly those involving drivers turning on and off the highway. The intersection was the site of 20 collisions in a five-year period, 11 of which involved turning drivers.

During the closure, crews will build the center island and driving lanes of the roundabout, put down the first layer of pavement, and install new lighting, striping and signs. Crews will finish final paving and striping in early summer when temperatures are warmer.

Index: Anderson Creek bridge repair April 9-27

Ten miles up the road in Index, a giant concrete panel left its mark on the Anderson Creek bridge when it slid off a truck two winters ago and crushed the bridge railing. Crews made emergency repairs in the wake of the crash – but now it’s time for a permanent fix.

Starting at 7 a.m. Monday, April 9, construction crews will close one lane of the bridge around the clock for up to 19 days to make permanent repairs to the bridge railing and repave a portion of the bridge deck. The lane is expected to reopen by noon Friday, April 27.

A temporary traffic signal will automatically direct drivers across the bridge one direction at a time. Flaggers will be on hand during peak weekend travel hours to limit traffic backups.

“There’s never an ideal time to close down a lane on US 2,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Dave Crisman. “We can’t work in the snow, but we also don’t want to delay summer travelers. April is an ideal time to get in, repair the bridge and be gone by the time traffic starts picking up later this spring.”

Plan ahead for congestion
Drivers will likely notice delays at both work zones if they plan to travel US 2 in the next week.

About 14,000 vehicles travel the two-lane stretch of US 2 through Sultan each day. If drivers can’t adjust their schedules or divert to other routes, squeezing traffic through a single lane will cause significant delays and backups. Local drivers can help minimize delays by avoiding travel on US 2 between 1 and 9 p.m. daily. Cross-state travelers and truckers should consider alternate routes such as US 97 and I-90.

About half that many vehicles – 6,400 at last count – rely on the Anderson Creek bridge daily. Drivers can expect delays of up to 10 minutes during weekday construction and 20 minutes during weekends.

The Rice Road roundabout project is part of a $10 million investment to reduce serious collisions on US 2 between Monroe and Gold Bar. For graphics and construction information, visit  

For more information about the Anderson Creek bridge repairs, visit the project website at  

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