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Street Smarts
March 19  |  By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Sue Sullivan of Snohomish writes: Have you seen the plans for the Bickford Avenue-U.S. 2 overpass? After hearing about the state taking out the weaves to make Highway 18 safer to enter on I-5 in Federal Way, I cannot believe they would even consider this flyover-ramp design for the Bickford overpass. The state never contacted anyone about this (city of Snohomish, fire district, neighbors) to get preliminary input.

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March 12  |  By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Warren Hartz of Index writes: We regularly drive by the electronic sign near Zeke's that tells us how many days since the last serious accident on U.S. 2.

Once recently it was up to about 30 and I noticed was reset to 2, which means either the power went out, which I don't think it did, or there was a serious accident. But I searched and found no report. Is there a Web page that updates this number?

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March 5  |  By Bill Sheets Herald writer
Gas prices are likely to continue to soar before they level off or dip back down, according to one local analyst.

Rises in crude oil prices have yet to make their way all the way through the gasoline markets, said Dave Overstreet, public affairs director for AAA Washington in Bellevue.

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March 2  |  By Bill Sheets
Several highway lane closures are planned for tonight and next week in Snohomish County.

Crews working for the state Department of Transportation are scheduled to close the two left lanes of southbound I-5 at the Stillaguamish River bridge from 9 p.m. tonight to 1 a.m. Saturday for survey work.

Crews working on the Highway 522 widening project near Monroe plan to move overhead power lines near the Snohomish River bridge.

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February 20  |  By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
Penny Page of Everett writes: I am expressing concern about pedestrians and the danger they are in when wearing dark clothing in our "dark weather."

I am alarmed by some recent pedestrian fatalities. In recent weeks I have personally witnessed pedestrians crossing intersections in dark clothing and both times they were almost hit. What a tragedy this would have been for all concerned -- nobody wants to be responsible for this type of accident.

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February 8  |  By Bill Sheets
The state this week finished installing and activating traffic web cameras on I-5 between Everett and Arlington, filling in the only remaining gap in the state's web cam system. between Arlington and Tacoma.

Drivers now can look on the web and see views of I-5 throughout that entire stretch, while before there were no camera views of the area from Everett to Arlington.

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February 6  |  
Michael Powers of Stanwood writes: The new overpass at 172nd Street NE (Highway 531) and I-5 is wonderful except for one road-rage boiling point. It's on the ramps to southbound I-5 -- the short ramp from eastbound 172nd has a sharp right bend and it's hard to make that turn and look for traffic coming from westbound 172nd down the loop ramp, which is traveling at 60 mph or more.

Wouldn't it make sense to install an "allow traffic to merge" sign for drivers on the loop ramp?

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January 23  |  By Bill Sheets
Last week, we tallied up your many responses to the question of what ticks you off most about other drivers, and boy, there's plenty.

We've had about 140 emails, and many other comments online at www.heraldnet.com/trafficgripes and on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heraldnet.

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January 13  |  By Bill Sheets
Well, the votes are in. More than 130 of you have registered your traffic pet peeves via e-mail and there are a few mild surprises.

I was sure left-lane campers and tailgating would be among the most common complaints, and they are.

Turns out they’re only second and third on the list, though. I had no idea how many of you would be ticked off about Bad Merging.

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January 6  |  By Bill Sheets
In nearly three years of doing Street Smarts I’ve had a chance to vent a few of my traffic pet peeves.

These include the slow drivers who camp in the left lane of the freeway. There are the drivers who are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. Then we have the sidegaters. We have the drivers who unneccessarily stop in the right lane on side streets, preventing turns. And of course there are the engine idlers. Some people may be a few or all of the above.

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December 23  |  By Bill Sheets
Hopefully most of us who live in Snohomish County don’t have to use the Highway 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington much, but anyone who does, get ready: tolling begins at 5 a.m. Thursday.

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December 16  |  By Bill Sheets
Karen Hart of Sultan writes: I appreciate the long-needed widening project on Highway 522 near Monroe. However, I am very dismayed at the potholes that are rearing their ugly heads.

The dark, rainy, vision-impaired evenings make it difficult to avoid hitting them. I have noticed many cars, along with my own, hitting these holes, sending teeth chattering and alignments out the door!

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December 15  |  By Bill Sheets
Paul Tounsend of Snohomish writes: The state Department of Transportation puts de-icer on the roads through the passes in the winter. This liquid is very corrosive, it will rust out a truck in two to three years - the brakes, exhaust system, drive lines, etc. It would be better to use sand.

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December 6  |  By Bill Sheets
At least one inside lane on I-5 in the Smokey Point area will be closed nearly every weeknight for three weeks for work on the 156th Street NE overpass project.

This week, except Friday, the southbound left-hand lane will be closed overnight for the project, located about a mile south of the interchange at I-5 and 172nd Street NE. The closures began Monday night.

No closures are scheduled for Friday (Dec. 9), Monday (Dec. 12) or Dec. 23.

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December 5  |  
Jack Ward of Granite Falls writes: I am so apprehensive about getting onto the U.S. 2 trestle - most times it’s like a raceway. I can hardly wait to get off, into town.

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December 1  |  By Bill Sheets
William Landert of Marysville writes: Why is it necessary to have dedicated right-hand exit lanes on the freeway?

These lanes are a real pain. Any lane change increases the chances for a collision, especially when you have those jerks who absolutely refuse to give you room to move over.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Explaining why we have those right-hand exit-only lanes on the freeways can get complex.

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November 21  |  By Bill Sheets
The gates are closed until spring on the North Cascades Highway.

Crews closed the highway last Tuesday in anticipation of snow expected in the mountains over the weekend, with the possibility of reopening the road before closing it again for the winter.

Today, though, forecasts of more snow and rain in the Cascades and an increasing threat of avalanches prompted the state to leave the highway closed.

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November 21  |  By Bill Sheets
If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, it can’t be said enough:

Leave early.

Leave early.

Leave early.

You might say, so then what? If everyone leaves early, then you still get stuck in traffic, just at a different time, right?

No. It doesn’t work that way. Not everyone is going to leave early. Ever.

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November 16  |  By Bill Sheets
Weather, disabled vehicles and accidents have contributed to a nearly 20-mile backup on northbound I-5, from the Boeing Access Road to Shoreline, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Drivers are advised to consider delaying northbound trips until 7 p.m. or later, or face heavy congestion. Travel times are around an hour from Renton to Seattle as well as Seattle to Lynnwood.

For updates go to Click to continue reading this blog post.
November 16  |  
The North Cascades Highway will be closed at least until Monday because of a forecast of heavy snow for the Cascades.

It’s hoped the highway can be reopened before Thanksgiving, said Dustin Terpening, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

More than a foot of snow is forecast for Thursday and some snow is expected to continue to fall through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

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November 11  |  By Bill Sheets
Tom Hughs of Arlington writes: A few years ago, curbs were installed down the middle of 172nd Street NE (Highway 531) in Smokey Point from I-5 to 43rd Avenue NE to prevent left turns onto 172nd. Has there been enough time to collect data showing the reduction in accidents?

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November 9  |  By Bill Sheets
Andy Kirkbride of Lake Stevens writes: I am perplexed about whether all the work that people say is to improve traffic flow on and off the U.S. 2 trestle has actually accomplished said goal. The 41st Street on-off ramp made getting onto the eastbound trestle 10 times worse. The work being done on 20th Street SE in Lake Stevens just moved the bottleneck but does nothing to address the traffic getting on the trestle with the convergence of Highway 204 and 20th Street SE. Seems they are spending...

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October 20  |  By Bill Sheets
Anyone heading south of downtown Seattle the next 10 days, beware.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct will be completely closed through Oct. 30 while crews demolish large sections of the southern mile of the viaduct. They're also scheduled to install temporary connections to a new Highway 99 bridge now under construction on the west side of the viaduct in the Sodo district.

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October 8  |  By Bill Sheets
Jeff Rexroat of Mukilteo writes: I am confused about the electronic information board on Highway 526 west of the Boeing plant.

I have not seen it working all summer long. There is one on Mukilteo Speedway that does work and was installed at the same time as the Highway 526 sign. For the money spent, and for the ferry riders, this should be working. This is also informative for Mukilteo residents to know whether to avoid congestion on the Speedway.

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September 29  |  By Bill Sheets
The opening of a new off-ramp from southbound I-5 to 196th Street SW in Lynnwood, originally planned for Friday morning, has been delayed until 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Wet weather earlier in the week pushed paving back a day, and that had a domino effect on other work, said Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

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