As Lynnwood looks to future growth, the city is planning to spend more than $30 million on a street-widening project for 196th Street Southwest that will add two new lanes to the existing roadway.
Street-widening plans that run from the Lynnwood Convention Center at 36th Avenue West to Fred Meyer at 48th Avenue West include turning the five lanes into seven lanes, and adding a landscaped median and 12-foot-wide sidewalks. The additional lanes on each side of the road will accommodate left- and U-turn lanes as well as bus use.
The 0.7-mile stretch of road is located in Lynnwood’s City Center district, which is the epicenter of the city’s designated regional growth center. The area is being planned as a downtown hub and will include apartment and office buildings.
Public Works Manager David Mach said the city has been planning the project for some time as part of its vision to make Lynnwood a regional growth model and anticipate future growth.
The city currently has a population of more than 38,000 residents and that’s expected to increase to 54,400 by 2035. Additionally, 196th Street is the city’s busiest east-to-west arterial, serving up to 50,000 daily drivers, Mach said.
The city’s plans to widen 196th Street coincide with Sound Transit’s pending Lynnwood Link light rail expansion coming in 2024. The light rail station will be the anchor of the City Center district and is anticipating more than 47,000 daily riders when it opens.
“We (Lynnwood and Sound Transit) are coordinating very closely with each other and both projects will end up serving our City Center,” Mach said.
The two additional bus lanes will serve Community Transit’s upcoming Swift Orange Line, which will run from the east-to-west corners of South Snohomish County along an 11.3-mile route between Edmonds Community College and McCollum Park and Ride. The route will include stops at Lynnwood’s City Center district, Alderwood Mall and Mill Creek Town Center. Service is scheduled to begin in 2024.
Project designs are currently under city staff review and expected to be completed in November. The project is also in the final stages of the property acquisition phase, which Mach said is expected to be completed around the same time as the design phase.
According to Mach, the city is planning to spend $7 million to purchase property along both sides of 196th Street to accommodate the street widening. Most of the properties being acquired by the city are already part of the public right of way and will include eliminating landscaping between the road and parking lots to widen the street. In the cases where the city will have to use space from existing parking lots, Mach said the city will possibly have to acquire parking stalls from single-story business and help remodel their parking lots.
Recently, the city advertised for consulting services to assist the city with construction management and is currently in the process of selecting a construction management firm.
“Typically with larger projects, we contract with consultants that specialize with this kind of thing,” he said. “Because it’s such a large project with a long duration, it would have a large impact on city construction staff.”
The city has received $21.7 million in grant funding and is contributing $1.2 million to the project. The city is also seeking additional grant dollars.
Project construction is scheduled to begin in early 2020 with completion expected by late 2022. Mach said the city plans to have the project completed before major construction for the light rail expansion begins.
“We’re trying to get ours out early enough so that we don’t have both east-west artrials under construction at the same time,” he said.
–Story by Cody Sexton