LAKE STEVENS, Wash. - More than 80,000 vehicles travel across one of the North Sound’s busiest highway connectors.
The US Highway 2 trestle between Everett and Lake Stevens is notorious for morning commute bottlenecks and now the Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking input from commuters on how to pay to replace the westbound lanes.
A WSDOT spokesperson emphasized the plans up for comments are preliminary as the project remains in its initial phases. Commuters who participate in the online survey will consider a 3 or 4 lane replacement westbound trestle. Estimates for replacing the structure hover around $1 billion. Options that could pay for construction, including a possible toll, are also part of the WSDOT survey.
“It’s backed up every single morning,” said commuter Sam Moe.
The major choke point in the North Sound still causes headaches for many commuters.
“It’s going back up as restrictions are being released,” said neighbor Jennifer Fraser.
Congestion has relaxed somewhat along the trestle between Everett and Lake Stevens, said Fraser, but not so much for Moe.
“If there’s an accident you have to go a different way,” he said.
Commuters’ opinions are again being solicited regarding a 3 or 4-lane replacement and options to pay for it.
“Nothing is off the table,” said WSDOT spokesperson Kris Olsen. “No decisions have been made about that.”
Tolling might sound familiar because Fraser helped lead a ‘No Trestle Toll’ petition that gathered thousands of online supporters only a few years ago.
While tens of thousands used the trestle daily prior to the pandemic, WSDOT expects commuters will return post-pandemic.
But Fraser insists a tolled lane could be dangerous if cars have to jockey for position and possibly undercut any expected revenues meant to help pay for a replacement.
“Tolling,” she said, “It’s just going to produce an unfair financial burden to the families in these communities.”