Highway 9 widening coming next year

SNOHOMISH — A project to relieve congestion at a choke point on state Route 9 near Snohomish is slated to begin in early 2025.

The $142 million project includes widening the highway between Marsh Road and Second Street to two lanes in each direction and building a second bridge across the Snohomish River west of the existing bridge. The new bridge will become the southbound lanes, and the existing bridge will become the northbound lanes.

“I do believe the new bridge will ease congestion, especially with the evening commute merge that currently happens before the bridge,” said Sam Low, a County Council member and state representative from Lake Stevens who has championed transportation funding.

State Route 9 is the only north-south roadway through Snohomish County besides Interstate 5. As the county population soared by more than 400,000 residents since 1980, the rural highway has suffered increasing congestion.

Drivers have started detouring through Snohomish and other cities adjacent to state Route 9 seeking shortcuts.

“I think that widening the bridge might potentially decrease the number of vehicles cutting through town,” said Snohomish Mayor Linda Redmon, “but that would just be speculation on my part.”

Other improvements will be modifying the Second Street on/off ramps, painting the existing bridge, and upgrading lighting, traffic signals, and lane configurations.

Snohomish officials have lobbied Legislators to fund widening the bridge for more than 15 years.

The state Department of Transportation plans to bid the job in August and hire a contractor in the fall. The new highway bridge will open sometime in 2026.

Though there is no detailed construction schedule, WSDOT said the following closures might be needed at various points during construction:

• Nightly full or one-directional closures of ramps and mainline state Route 9

• Short (up to two weeks) and/or long-term (up to six months) closures of Lowell Road

• Partial closures of Marsh Road and Airport Way

WSDOT also plans to finish widening state Route 9 to four lanes in the Cathcart area between 176th St. SE and state Route 96 (Lowell-Larimer Road).

That $22 million project is scheduled for 2025-2027.