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North county road projects to be aired

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Brian Kelly / Herald Writer
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By Brian Kelly
Herald Writer
STANWOOD -- In a roundabout way, north county residents will get an update of five highway projects in the Stanwood-Camano Island area Wednesday. Planners from the state Department of Transportation will have an open house that's mainly devoted to explaining the effort to create a new "route development plan" for Highway 532. Four other road projects will be discussed. And the meeting will take a circular form, with scattered information stations so attendees can bounce from topic to topic, ask questions and give suggestions. The state is preparing a route development plan that will outline possible improvements from I-5 to Terry's Corner. The plan will include an analysis of how the highway is used, areas where safety can be increased, potential environmental and roadway preservation issues, and improvements that could be made by 2022. The study will consider whether additional capacity is needed on the highway, said Jerry Schutz, transportation planning manager for the department. "We know the corridor, on the average, handles about 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles a day, depending on where you're at," Schutz said. Interestingly, there is more traffic on Highway 532 west of Stanwood than on the highway east of town closer to I-5, he said. That may be because travelers take 268th Street NW, a county road that parallels Highway 532 to the north, instead of the busier highway. Transportation officials will talk about the basic components of the plan and how it will help guide future projects along Highway 532. The finished plan will include not only potential improvements, but also serve as a guide for local and regional leaders when they make land-use decisions.
What's an RDP?

Called a Route Development Plan, the RDP is an in-depth study of a state highway that determines future deficiencies and proposes solutions. When approved, the plan will:
  • Provide guidance for future projects on Highway 532
  • Identify preservation strategies for future corridor needs
  • Give strategies for corridor management
  • Serve as a foundation for solutions to future transportation problems
  • The plan is expected to be finished by December, transportation planner Renee Zimmerman said. Another open house on the study will be later in the year, she said. The meeting Wednesday won't be solely devoted to the Highway 532 study. Representatives from Island County will talk about the Terry's Corner park-and-ride project and a roundabout that may be built nearby. The state also is considering installing a roundabout at the northbound I-5 off-ramp at the Stanwood-Camano exit. That project is in the design phase, Zimmerman said. Information also will be available about an upcoming two-way left-turn re-striping project in Stanwood and a paving-and-shoulder improvement project on I-5 between 236th Street NE and Starbird Road. You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to kelly@heraldnet.com.

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