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Melissa Slager |
Published: Monday, April 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Reader says Getchell Road safety fixes take priority

George Schlosser of Getchell writes: Getchell Road, also known as 84th Street NE, between Highway 9 and 123rd Avenue NE, has become a genuinely dangerous road. We may not be talking about fatal accidents, but that is just a matter of time. And we are not talking about the road itself but rather the drivers using the road at excessive speeds and just plain not paying attention. We have recently had two rear-end accidents and several close calls at the intersection of 84th and 115th.

According to Snohomish County, this intersection is one of 60 on a list to be upgraded. There are others on the list ahead of ours that I do not believe to be as busy or as dangerous.

Steve Thomsen, Snohomish County public works director, responds: When it comes to roadwork, we have to look at all the roads in the county and make smart funding decisions. We take a lot of factors into account before we decide what projects to fund – things like traffic volume, collision data, sight distance, pavement condition, etc. We want to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and invest in roadway improvements that are the best use of our limited funds.

The intersection of 84th Street and 115th Avenue NE meets the criteria for left-turn pockets, which give turning drivers a safe place to wait as they look for a gap in traffic. This project is currently funded for design work and any property acquisition that might be needed. Once the project is designed, we can work with the county council to secure funding for construction. Roadwork could begin as soon as 2016.

If you're concerned about speeding or dangerous driving along 84th Street, we suggest contacting the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and requesting additional enforcement.

Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, adds: Recently we have increased traffic patrols in the area. We encourage concerned citizens to contact the Sheriff's Office any time there are traffic concerns and we will do the best we can to work with them to address the issue.

It might also be a good time to mention that a $250 ticket may be written for inattentive driving under Snohomish County law (Chapter 11.12.025).

Rita Wagner of Camano Island writes: Two sunken manhole covers in Stanwood on Highway 532 in front of Twin City Foods are causing a nuisance.

Drivers are having an awful time dodging these things. One guy told my husband he broke something under his car. Can this be changed? They've been this way since the work on the highway a couple of years ago and they're just getting worse.

Dave Chesson, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: In 2010, we completed work on Highway 532 that included building a new bridge between the city of Stanwood and Camano Island, adding truck climbing lanes, improving intersections, and paving along the corridor, including through Stanwood. The manhole locations in front of Twin City Foods are part of the existing city drainage system, but they weren't moved or replaced as part of the project.

Since the paving crews can't pave right up to the city's manhole covers with their large paving machine, crews come back and put a circular patch of asphalt around the utility manhole covers. It appears this material may be settling or failing around these specific manhole covers. Since maintenance of Stanwood utilities - including manhole covers and the immediate surrounding roadway surface - is the city's responsibility, we have alerted the city to Ms. Wagner's concern. They plan to investigate the two manhole covers and address any problems they discover with the roadway surface at these two locations.

E-mail us at Please include your city of residence. Look for updates on our blog at

Story tags » Highway 532Highway 9Traffic Safety

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