Bickford-U.S. 2 intersection re-construction commences
SNOHOMISH – Work to replace the dangerous at-grade intersection of U.S. 2 and Bickford Avenue with a safer onramp started last week with some baby steps.
The $22.4 million project will create a bridge and ramp which will take drivers above the highway rather than across it to safely merge onto westbound U.S. 2, and is expected to be available to traffic in 2013.
The project started with a two-day closure last week to place a barrier and restripe the roadway, but closures to begin larger-scale work will start the weekend of Aug. 3-6.
The state Department of Transportation will replace five deteriorating drainage culverts located beneath both eastbound and westbound U.S. 2 during that time. This closure will be the first of six weekend closures this summer.
The round-the-clock weekend closures will alternate for eastbound and westbound traffic with three closed weekends for each direction. Drivers can expect to use state Route 9 and 20th Street to access U.S. 2 when it is closed in the eastbound and westbound directions.
Crews will cut open a 20-foot section of highway to remove and replace the culverts 30 feet below. That section of highway will be repaved when the culverts are in place.
There were 13 collisions at the intersection between 2006 to 2010, eight of which involved drivers turning left from Bickford onto U.S. 2.
Project engineer Mark Sawyer said he’s aware drivers have been waiting “quite a while” for intersection improvements. It’s one of the last places on U.S. 2 drivers must turn in front of oncoming traffic.
He expects the overpass will make a big difference in improving traffic safety.
Culvert work is expected to be complete this fall. The deteriorating drainage culverts are allowing water to seep in under the roadway, which can damage the road surface.
The culverts are “so corroded that our maintenance crews call them Swiss cheese,” Sawyer said, adding that replacing them will reduce maintenance costs.
The department will replace the culverts with new pipes made of “thick, heavy, rubberized plastic.”
The project was awarded to Granite Construction in June.