In an effort to react proactively in the face of looming budget cuts, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens held his third annual transportation summit Thursday with local leaders and traffic experts in an effort to prioritize the necessary infrastructure improvements along the heavily traveled State Route 9 (SR-9) corridor of Snohomish County.
“Every transportation dollar is under increased scrutiny due to economic conditions, so it is vital to have an understanding of the most pressing issues facing our district. If we are able to come together with one voice, we can work to preserve and even promote the work that we need done to improve our roads and traffic systems,” Hobbs said.
Perhaps the biggest news announced at the meeting was the City of Marysville’s plan to extend SR-92 west through SR-9 into a new set of arterials that will link SR-92 into Interstate 5 via surface streets, creating an alternate route to current options such as the US-2 Trestle and Marysville’s heavily used current surface streets. Hobbs asked Marysville to provide proof that all the necessary funds for the project will be on hand before final planning begins.
“The widening of SR-9 has long been a priority, and through reaching a consensus as a group, we are now seeing the results of our work. Combining the widening of SR-9 with a new route to I-5 is a major development for all of us who commute to work on a daily basis,” Hobbs said.
After hearing the agency presentations and participating in a question-and-answer session, the group brainstormed potential projects that could ease the traffic burden along SR-9, reaching a consensus to concentrate efforts on four legislative items: the continued support of currently funded SR-9 projects, continued planning for a new Snohomish River bridge, redesign of the SR-204/SR-9 intersection and addressing safety concerns at 4th Street and SR-9, which sees increased traffic during the school year from Hillcrest Elementary. This combined approach has worked in the past. After last year’s meeting, Senator Hobbs garnered stage one planning for a new Snohomish River bridge, and was able to protect and fund the current widening projects occurring on SR-9 while also addressing safety concerns along SR-92.
Both Hobbs and the attendees pledged to work together to advance this agenda in Olympia, and Hobbs told participants he would report back during session with a progress report.