MARYSVILLE – For years, drivers in Snohomish County had to guess what traffic conditions would be like on Interstate 5 north of Everett. Cameras and traffic flow information stopped abruptly at the Snohomish River bridge, and the busy 16-mile stretch of I-5 between Everett and Arlington showed up on the Seattle-area traffic map as a long swath of gray: No equipment available.
Fast-forward to today, and the guesswork is gone. Crews recently finished at $3.2 million project that completes a key fiber optic network and brings 16 new miles of traffic information and cameras online.
That formerly grey stretch of traffic map now shows real-time traffic conditions in stretches of green, red and – yes – sometimes even black, giving drivers a better way to estimate travel times between Everett and Arlington. New Washington State Department of Transportation traffic cameras stationed between the Snohomish River and Stillaguamish River also give drivers a bird’s-eye view of traffic and road conditions.
“It’s all about keeping drivers informed so they can avoid delays,” said WSDOT Traffic Management Center Supervisor Chris Thomas. “Having the new cameras and roadway data loops in place help us spot and respond to collisions much faster and quickly share that information with drivers.”
Construction in summer 2011 filled in a four-mile fiber optic gap on I-5 between Marysville and Everett. The project completed a fiber optic system started several years ago when WSDOT installed 12 miles of cameras and traffic data loops on I-5 between Marysville and Arlington as part of the median barrier project.
The completed fiber optic connection gives the area’s 118,000 daily drivers nearly 16 miles of new traffic data and cameras so they can better plan their travel. That same information is streamed as live feed to WSDOT staff in the regional Traffic Management Center in Shoreline, shared with regional media and posted on the WSDOT website.
In addition to camera and data loop installation, crews this summer repaved a four-mile stretch of southbound I-5 between Marysville and Everett, updated road signs, lighting and guardrail, and improved stormwater drainage on the Ebey Slough bridge. Find more information about this project – and links to the Seattle traffic map – on the project website www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/SnohomishEbey.