New bus-only lane opens on 128th Street and I-5 in South Everett

128th Street and I-5 in South Everett.  Photo courtesy of Community Transit.
128th Street and I-5 in South Everett. Photo courtesy of Community Transit.

From a Community Transit News Release.

New bus-only lane is first improvement for Swift Green Line project.

A new bus-only lane has opened at the I-5 overpass heading eastbound on 128th Street SW, a notorious congestion point.

The road-widening project is part of Community Transit’s Swift Green Line bus rapid transit project that began construction in summer 2017. The eastbound bus lane is the first traffic improvement in the overall project to be completed.

Previously, eastbound 128th Street had three lanes. The road now has four lanes, with the second from the right being a bus-only lane that allows buses to move onto the overpass when the other lanes are congested, improving their ability to stay on schedule.

A special bus signal, known as a queue jump, gives the bus a green light several seconds before other vehicles to allow the bus to merge into the regular traffic lane from a red light.

Buses can also access a right-lane merge pocket on the overpass to wait for an opportunity to merge into regular lanes during heavy congestion.

Transit data indicates that buses take anywhere from three to seventeen minutes to get past the overpass. The new lane should cut that time in half.

A similar project is underway on the westbound lanes approaching the I-5 overpass. That stretch of 128th Street now has only two lanes, one of which is used for both through vehicles and cars turning right onto northbound I-5. A new right-turn/transit lane is being built that will allow buses to get onto the overpass and other vehicles to turn directly onto the freeway. This new lane will allow for vehicles to use the other two lanes solely as through lanes.

That part of the project is expected to open in summer 2018.

The Swift Green Line is scheduled to open in early 2019 and will provide bus service every ten minutes between the Canyon Park Park & Ride in Bothell and the Seaway Transit Center across from Boeing’s main gate in Everett. The Seaway Transit Center is now under construction.

There are several components to the Swift Green Line construction project:

  • The widening of 128th Street on both sides of the I-5 overpass.
  • Construction of the Seaway Transit Center.
  • Construction of 34 Swift stations at sixteen intersections along the route, as well as road and pedestrian improvements near those stations.

The Swift Green Line will intersect with the existing Swift Blue Line, Community Transit’s highest ridership route, at Hwy 99 and Airport Road, providing fast transit connections throughout south Snohomish County. The Swift Green Line will also serve the new passenger terminal at Paine Field.

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