By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published May 9, 2012
522 rock blasting begins next month, expect delays
MONROE - To widen state Route 522 to four lanes, the state Department of Transportation will begin rock blasting along the highway next month.
The project aims to reduce congestion and collisions on the highway.
Beginning in mid-June drivers can expect frequent delays, initially between 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., DOT project manager Janice Fahning said in a presentation to the Monroe City Council last week.
“You will see daytime full closures for the rock blasting as well as many night-time closures for hauling the rock off our site as well as other work,” Fahning said.
A detour will take drivers to U.S. 2 and state Route 9.
“It adds about 10 miles to the trip, about 20 minutes,” Fahning said. “The rock blasting work will take approximately a year — so we’re going to be doing this work for a long time.”
Drivers can prepare for the delays by calling a dedicated phone line (1-877-832-0303) or by checking the project page at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR522/Widen/SnoRiver_US2.
People can sign up for e-mail updates or get a mobile application on their smartphones by visiting the website as well.
The DOT plans to remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock to widen the roadway between just west of the Snohomish River Bridge and 179th Avenue SE in Monroe.
Some of the rock will be used in the widening project, Fahning said.
When there is a blast, the DOT expects that people near the project will hear a rumbling, Fahning said.
“They may also hear horn sounds from the blaster,” she said.
The work must be finished by Oct. 15 to avoid disturbing fish habitat, DOT spokesman Gil McNabb said.
“During the longer days in the summer, particularly, they’d be working daylight hours, so until (9 p.m. or 10 p.m.) to complete that,” he said.
The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2014, Fahning said.
In addition to widening more than four miles of state Route 522 from two to four lanes, the DOT also will build four new bridges, including a new bridge across the Snohomish River.
A new median barrier will separate oncoming traffic on the highway, and the DOT will build a roundabout at 164th Street SE, add a noise wall, build a wildlife crossing, and upgrade lighting and signing.
The DOT also is building a new direct ramp from eastbound 522 to eastbound U.S. 2 as part of a separate project.