The city of Arlington will likely pursue a roundabout at the SR 530/Smokey Point Boulevard intersection after recently installing a temporary traffic light.
The project to install a traffic light at the intersection was originally meant to be finished earlier in the year.
“It did get delayed by about two to three months,” said Kristin Banfield, communications manager with the city of Arlington.
“We had some issues with the bidding process,” she said. The city sent it out to bid later than planned and didn’t get any responses back when they did.
“Now we have put up sort of a temporary solution before we do something more permanent,” she said.
The original plan was to put up a traffic light intersection before transitioning to a roundabout sometime in the future.
“Based on the traffic flow that we’re seeing here now, we think we’re going straight to the roundabout,” said Banfield.
Some of those traffic problems were caused by the sequence of the lights not lining up properly.
“There was some timing issues with the lights that the Washington State Department of Transportation has in place near I-5,” said Banfield.
Because the two intersections weren’t synced properly, the lights were aggravating traffic issues and causing unnecessary backups.
The city received some complaints about the issue, said Banfield, however it has been corrected now.
“WSDOT continue to monitor the area to make sure the traffic keeps flowing,” she said.
The increased backups have had people noticing the amount of traffic that is going along that stretch of SR 530 as well, said Banfield.
“That sort of exacerbated what we’re seeing,” she said. “There’s more traffic in the area because of the general growth in the county.”
Traffic on SR 530 comes from all over the area which has been growing rapidly, said Banfield.
“People have to get to I-5, whether they’re working north or in Seattle or Everett,” she said. “We have as many vehicles passing along that two lane street as we have at 172nd Street."
Because of the increased traffic demands the city has decided to mainly pursue a roundabout and hopes to secure state funds for the project soon.
“It’s really accelerated our time schedule,” said Banfield.
The city is pursuing this interaction both in response to current and expected future traffic demands, but also because of safety.
“We’ve noticed a significant number of collisions and definite traffic safety concerns,” at that intersection, said Banfield.
That stretch of SR 530 is nominally 35 mph, but many drivers coming off of a 70 mph highway or a 50 mph stretch of SR 530 are going much faster than that.
“And because of that we see individuals taking changes turning left to get onto SR 530 from Smokey Point Boulevard,” said Banfield.
The problem has caused dangerous collisions and many tight turns.
“What we heard were a lot of complaints of misses or near misses happening there,” said Banfield.
She said the city hasn’t seen any collisions there since the intersection was installed.
Banfield also wanted to thank the Stillaguamish Tribe who have been providing support for the issue.
“We have enjoyed a great partnership with the Stilly Tribe and they have really stepped up in helping us with this project,” she said.