Bickford-U.S. 2 flyover project could start this summer
SNOHOMISH - The project to reconfigure the intersection of Bickford Avenue and U.S. 2 could begin this summer.
The state Department of Transportation will build a new crossover from Bickford to westbound U.S. 2. The new flyover onramp will take traffic over U.S. 2 rather than across it, which is expected to reduce the number and severity of collisions.
Drivers turning left off Bickford onto U.S. 2 will no longer have to cross two lanes of high-speed U.S. 2 eastbound traffic.
There have been 13 collisions in the past five years directly related to drivers turning across traffic from Bickford to U.S. 2, according to the DOT.
Construction on the approximately $18 million project is likely to start this summer, in early to mid-June, DOT assistant regional administrator Russ East said.
“We will advertise the project in March and expect to open bids in the April/May time period,” East said.
It is unknown exactly how much the project will cost, but the Washington Traffic Safety Commission awarded the DOT an $18.4 million grant for construction.
“That’s the funding that the Legislature has allocated for the project,” DOT spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said. “The final cost is going to depend on the bids we get in this spring from the contractors.”
“This project eliminates the at-grade crossing, and replaces it with a bridge that allows Bickford traffic to cross over U.S. 2 and merge with a traditional freeway ramp,” East said.
The intersection is a high-traffic location, and traffic volumes are expected to increase over time.
In 2014, the two eastbound lanes of U.S. 2 are projected to have 900 vehicles per hour (VPH) during the busiest hour of the evening.
That number is projected to increase to 2,000 in the year 2032.
The northbound lane of Bickford, from which vehicles turn left onto U.S. 2, is projected to have 420 VPH during the night rush hour in 2014.
After the flyover is built, it is projected this lane will support 1,000 VPH during the same time of day.
“What is interesting, if we don’t build the proposed improvement, the volumes turning left from Bickford Avenue is projected in the year 2032 to go down to 100 VPH during the p.m. peak hour,” DOT project engineer Gary McKee said. “This is because the volumes increase so much on the U.S. 2 mainline that the gaps for left turns to get between the through traffic are few and far between. Traffic (900 VPH) divert to (state Route) 9 because the backup along Bickford would get too long.”
The DOT also will upgrade the lighting at the intersection to increase visibility for drivers.
Project information can be found at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/US2/BickfordSafety/default.htm and any questions about the project can be e-mailed to Bronlea Mishler at email@example.com.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published Feb. 8, 2012