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Snohomish County Traffic Is Backed Up To The '90s

traffic commute transportation car
Flickr Photo/JBLM (CC-BY-NC-ND)
File photo.

It should only take half an hour to drive between Everett and Seattle on Interstate 5, which was possible during the holidays.

But it’s back to reality now, and the regular commute can take longer than an hour.

“I’m lucky if I can make it from my home in Mill Creek to downtown Seattle in less than an hour and a half,” said John Lovick, the Snohomish county executive. “It’s just miserable. I look over and I see people – I see the frustration.”

Snohomish County has a list of $1 billion worth of needed highway improvements – all tied to the state’s transportation package, which remains stalled in the legislature.

That’s the short list. The long list is $3 billion.

A lot of that money would complete projects that were started when the Spice Girls were together.

“What we have is an incomplete megaproject, if you will, from the early '90s,” said Troy McClelland, president of Snohomish County’s Economic Alliance.

McClelland said that because the projects were never finished, the county’s drivers can’t take advantage of work that was completed.

“We did not finish the east-west corridors, which is then backing up into the north-south corridors,” he said. That includes I-5.

Lovick said he hopes the impasse over transportation funding ends this year. But then there’s next year.

That’s when voters in the Sound Transit region may vote on whether light rail will extend deep into Snohomish County – giving more commuters a choice, even if it will only be in another 20 years.