US-2 Alternatives Analysis and Public Engagement

November 2022 Update:

The City held its third round of technical, local community, and regional working group meetings in October 2022. All three groups were briefed on a Phased Alternative 3 approach including ten projects over four phases to accomplish a future Four-Lane US2 with Multi-Lane Roundabouts. 

Technical Working Group

The technical working group’s discussion focused on reviewing requested additional analysis of expanded east-west connectors and forming consensus on the Phased Alternative 3 approach. Community Transit expressed an interest in more information regarding the integration of bus stops, park and ride access, and nonmotorized facilities into the corridor design. WSDOT expressed an interest in the role of developer mitigation for improvements at the Sultan Basin Road intersection. BNSF expressed concerns over queuing at railroad crossings and the need to perform diagnostic and more detailed analysis of how improvements will interact with existing rail facilities. The Sultan School District identified a new bus depot south of US2 that would require improvements at the US2/Sultan Basin Road be compatible with their bus fleet. In general, the group was supportive of the Phased Alternative 3 approach.

Local Community Working Group

The local working group focused on reviewing additional analysis of expanded east-west connectors and forming consensus on the Phased Alternative 3 approach. The group expressed interest in framing the importance of an East-West Connector for its safety/emergency evacuation benefits (not only traffic congestion benefits) in the final report. Significant concerns remain regarding private property impacts of proposed East-West Connector routes. The majority of the group supported keeping the focus on improvements to US2 (i.e. not mixing a local East-West Connector project into a US2 Corridor improvement plan). Mitigating risks at Wagley's Creek Bridge and improving the intersection at Sultan Basin Road emerged as high priority projects.

Regional Working Group 

The regional working group meeting was lightly attended and focused on forming consensus on the Phased Alternative 3 approach. In general, the group was supportive of the Phased Alternative 3 approach. The group expressed concerns for provision of nonmotorized facilities within BNSF right of way. Stevens Pass is developing a transportation plan to further promote bus use for employees and guests. Mayors from east of Sultan are actively coordinating with Senator Cantwell’s staff to consider immediate US2 corridor needs given the recent Bolt Creek Fire and the potential for mudslides. Group members requested materials and information to share with their constituents.

The City conducted an online survey between May 11 and July 29, 2022. The survey asked respondents about their perception of existing conditions, problems they experience along the US2 Corridor through Sultan City limits, desired improvements to US2, and impacts to avoid. The City received 920 responses. The survey is now closed. An overview of the survey responses is available in Appendix A2.

A technical memo summarizing the City’s Round 3 activities and a draft outline for the Executive Summary/Final Report will be introduced by City staff at the November 17, 2022 City Council meeting.

City Council meetings are open to the public. Please visit the City Council webpage for more information.

Project Background

In 2020, the City refreshed our approach to addressing traffic congestion by adopting an update to the City’s Transportation Element. Analysis clearly identified the need for additional capacity on US2 to meet future needs. 

In developing a plan for Sultan’s transportation system, our consulting traffic engineers identified improvements to the US2 corridor as the most effective method of reducing congestion. US2 is a state and federal highway, so we are coordinating with the Washington State Department of Transportation to design and construct improvements to meet the long-term needs for the City and region at large.

In 2021, the City's consulting traffic engineers began to study the entire US-2 corridor within the city limits to determine the best approach to addressing current and future traffic conditions. 

In 2022, the City's consulting traffic engineers and City staff began engaging relevant stakeholders in three working groups (technical, local community, and regional) with the goal of establishing consensus for a preferred alternative for improvements to the US-2 corridor within the city limits.

See Stakeholder Working Group section below and documentation to the right.


Alternatives Under Consideration

The City's consulting firm completed the US2 Corridor Study in May 2022. Alternatives under consideration are summarized below:

  • Five-Lane US2 with Signalized Intersections: This alternative would widen the highway to five lanes to accommodate two lanes in each direction as well as a shared turn lane at and between intersections. Major intersections would be developed with traffic lights. This alternative:
    • Requires less right-of-way at intersections
    • Requires more right-of-way between intersections
    • Allows left turns at and between intersections
    • Includes signalized intersections that are less safe than roundabouts
    • Provides congestion relief compared to existing conditions
  • Four-Lane US2 with Multi-Lane Roundabout Intersections: This alternative would widen the highway to four lanes with two lanes in each direction and major intersections would be redeveloped with multi-lane roundabouts. This alternative: 
    • Requires more right-of-way at intersections 
    • Requires less right-of-way between intersections 
    • Restricts left turns between roundabouts and at some intersections requiring U-turns
    • Includes roundabouts that are safer than signalized intersections
    • Provides congestion relief compared to existing conditions
  • Three-Lanes with Single-Lane Roundabouts: This alternative would not widen the highway and would replace existing signalized intersections with single-lane roundabouts. This alternative:
    • Requires the least amount of additional right-of-way at intersections
    • Requires the least amount of additional right-of-way between intersections
    • Allows left turns at and between intersections
    • Includes roundabouts that are safer than signalized intersections
    • Provides the least congestion relief compared to existing conditions
  • Couplet: This alternative would convert the existing Main St from the Sultan River to US2 to westbound travel and US2 to eastbound travel. This alternative:
    • Requires no additional right-of-way through downtown.
    • Requires additional bridge capacity over the Sultan River
    • May impact River Park. 
    • Allows left turns at and between intersections.
    • Includes signalized intersections that are less safe than roundabout
    • Provides congestion relief compared to existing conditions
    • Would change the character of Main Street from a local street to a regional connector.


Stakeholder Working Groups

The technical working group includes agency representatives from the City of Sultan Police Department, Snohomish County Fire District 5, Snohomish County Public Works, Community Transit, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

The local community working group includes residents of Sultan and individuals who own/operate businesses in Sultan. Thirteen local community participants were invited from a list of individuals who signed up at the US2 Corridor Open House hosted by the City on May 11, 2022, or who expressed interest in participating when completing the online survey.

The regional working group was formed to include representatives from other jurisdictions along the US2 corridor as well as other organizations and entities. Invitations were sent to: elected officials and/or staff representing the communities of Monroe, Gold Bar, Skykomish, Leavenworth and Wenatchee; Tulalip Tribes; Cascade Bicycle Club; Washington Trucking Associations; Stevens Pass Ski Area (operated by Vail Resorts); Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce; Port of Everett; and Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority.

 

  1. Will Ibershof

    City Administrator
    Phone: 360-793-1149

  2. Nate Morgan

    Public Works Director
    Phone: 360-793-2262

Public Input Opportunities

US-2 Corridor Improvements Open House

The City hosted an Open House on May 11, 2022, from 6:00 – 8:00pm at City Hall. Thank you to all of the residents that attended. We had over 100 members of the public that stopped by and shared their input on improvements to US2. A summary of comments received at the Open House will be posted to this webpage soon.

Online Survey

The City conducted an online survey between May 11 and July 29, 2022. The City received 920 responses. The survey is now closed. A summary of the survey responses will posted to this webpage soon.

Comments Email

If you have comments on the US2 Alternatives Analysis, you mail email us at: us2comments@ci.sultan.wa.us.

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Stakeholder Working Group Documentation

Please see below links to access pdf documents for stakeholder working group activities. This section will be updated as new documents become available.

Round 1 Documents

Round 2 Documents

Round 3 Documents

Future Project Activities 

November 17, 2022 – Round 3 City Council Check-In (update by City staff)

December 2022 – Final Community Engagement Report 

City Council meetings are open to the public. Please visit the City Council webpage for more information.