Washington State Route 531

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State Route 531

SR 531 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-5
Defined by RCW 47.17.757
Maintained by WSDOT
Length9.88 mi[1] (15.90 km)
Major junctions
West endNPS map symbol campground.png Wenberg County Park in Lake Goodwin
Major intersections I-5 in Marysville
East end SR 9 in Arlington
CountryUnited States
Highway system
SR 530 SR 532

State Route 531 (SR 531) is a short state highway in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. It runs from west to east along 172nd Street between Wenberg County Park on Lake Goodwin to a junction with SR 9 in southern Arlington, with an intermediate interchange with Interstate 5 (I-5) in Smokey Point. The highway is the primary access point for the Arlington Municipal Airport and the Smokey Point retail corridor.

SR 531 was created by the state legislature in 1991, using existing roads that were built in the early 20th century. Retail and housing development in the Smokey Point area triggered several expansion projects in the 1990s and 2000s to accommodate growing traffic volumes. The I-5 interchange was rebuilt and expanded between 2004 and 2010, including the addition of a loop ramp and a wider overpass. Its eastern terminus at SR 9 was converted into a roundabout in 2012.

Route description

SR 531 eastbound at 27th Avenue, approaching the I-5 interchange

SR 531 begins at the entrance to Wenberg County Park, a former state park located on Lake Goodwin. The highway travels north on a section of East Lake Goodwin Road, which continues around the south and west sides of the lake. At the north end of the lake, SR 531 turns east onto Lakewood Road, a rural two-lane highway that passes several suburban subdivisions. The highway wraps around the north end of Lake Ki and Cougar Creek and turns due east onto 172nd Street Northeast at an intersection with Forty Five Road.[3] It continues across the rural community of North Lakewood, passing the Lakewood High School campus.[4][5]

The highway travels east over a set of railroad tracks into the city of Marysville, where it expands into a multi-lane road with sidewalks, bus pullouts, landscaping, a roundabout, and marked bicycle lanes.[6] SR 531 passes several big-box retailers and apartment complexes before reaching a partial cloverleaf interchange with I-5, which marks the boundary between Marysville and Arlington.[7][8] The overpass carrying SR 531 over I-5 is named the Oliver "Punks" Smith Bridge after a retired Arlington city councilmember who led calls for its reconstruction.[9] The highway continues east into Arlington's Smokey Point neighborhood, passing several strip malls, a bus station, and government offices.[4]

East of Smokey Point, SR 531 returns to its two-lane configuration as it passes several farms, light industrial buildings, and the Arlington Municipal Airport.[8] The airport's main runway lies directly north of the highway, with low-flying planes making their final approach over SR 531, and the complex is ringed by a gravel multiuse trail.[10] The highway crosses another set of railroad tracks and the Centennial Trail at 67th Avenue, which continues into downtown Arlington.[11] From the crossing, SR 531 begins its ascent up a hill, curving to the north along the edge of the Gleneagle housing development and golf course.[12] The highway terminates at a roundabout with SR 9 near a gun range south of downtown Arlington.[4]

SR 531 is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which conducts an annual survey on the state's highways to measure traffic volume in terms of average annual daily traffic. In 2016, WSDOT calculated that the busiest section of the highway is located in Smokey Point and carried an average of 24,000 vehicles per day. The least traveled section was near Wenberg County Park and carried only 1,900 vehicles.[13] A short section of SR 531 between I-5 and Smokey Point Boulevard is designated as a minor route of the National Highway System.[14]


Aerial view of the I-5 interchange in Smokey Point, rebuilt in stages between 2004 and 2011

Lakewood and its adjoining community of English were established in 1908 along an unpaved road to Arlington, which later became part of SR 531.[15][16] The road once extended east from Portage Creek to the banks of the South Fork Stillaguamish River, but this section was removed from maps by 1940.[17] As retailers moved into the Smokey Point area, sections of the road were widened and improved in the 1980s with contributions from private developers.[18]

SR 531 was designated as a state highway during the 1991 legislative session, but it was not transferred to state control until April 1992.[19] WSDOT identified the highway's two-lane overpass over I-5 as a candidate for replacement using state funding, but the project was pushed back several times in the 1990s. After it was removed from the preliminary list of projects under the Nickel Program in January 2003, a citizens group was formed to lobby elected officials for the interchange replacement.[20] By the end of the year, the group had successfully negotiated for $6.5 million in funds (equivalent to $10.3 million in 2023 dollars)[21] to replace the overpass and plan for a future interchange replacement, sourced from various state and local jurisdictions.[22] The project's budget was later increased to $9.2 million (equivalent to $14.2 million in 2023 dollars)[21] using federal funds obtained by the state's congressional delegation.[23][24]

Construction of the new I-5 overpass began in August 2004 and was completed in December 2005,[25] expanding the highway to six lanes and adding bicycle lanes and sidewalks.[26][27] The old overpass, which had been built in 1968, was demolished in May 2005 after the completion of the new bridge's northern side.[28][29] The new bridge opened in time to serve a new shopping center on the southwest side of the interchange, which contributed to an increase in traffic and collisions.[18] The second phase of the project, a loop ramp channeling westbound traffic onto southbound I-5, began construction in March 2009 and was opened on August 28, 2009, six months ahead of schedule.[30] The rest of the interchange project, including ramp meters and improved intersections, was completed in July 2010. The project's total budget was $33 million (equivalent to $45 million in 2023 dollars),[21] but only cost $23.5 million to construct (equivalent to $32.1 million in 2023 dollars)[21] due to cost savings in engineering and project bidding.[31]

The Nickel Program also funded several other projects on the SR 531 that were completed in the late 2000s and early 2010s. In 2007, a set of sidewalks were added to the highway near Lakewood High School and its adjacent elementary school in Lakewood.[32] A roundabout at SR 9 was opened to traffic in November 2012, replacing a signalized intersection that had been the site of frequent collisions.[33] A second roundabout was added at 23rd Avenue west of the I-5 interchange, using funds from a private developer to support their new shopping center and apartment complex.[10]

In the late 2000s, WSDOT also studied $57 million in traffic and safety improvements for the SR 531 corridor near the Arlington Municipal Airport, recommending that the highway be widened to four lanes and include bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and roundabouts at several intersections.[34] Funding for the project was part of the Roads and Transit ballot measure in 2007, but the program was rejected by voters.[8][35] In 2015, the state legislature allocated $39.3 million from the statewide transportation package to fund a widening project that is scheduled to be completed by 2026.[10][36][37] Due to the anticipated increase in traffic caused by new industrial development in the area, a set of parallel reliever roads are also planned to be constructed in Smokey Point.[38] A roundabout at 43rd Avenue Northeast and hard median in Smokey Point were completed by October 2022.[39][40]

Major intersections

The entire highway is in Snohomish County.

Wenberg County Park0.000.00 Park entrance
MarysvilleArlington line6.3610.24 I-5 – Seattle, Vancouver, BC
Arlington6.6310.67Smokey Point BoulevardFormer US 99
9.8815.90 SR 9 – Arlington, Lake StevensRoundabout
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Multimodal Planning Division (January 3, 2018). State Highway Log Planning Report 2017, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 1612–1616. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "RCW 47.17.757: State route No. 531". Washington State Legislature. 1991. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Sheets, Bill (August 11, 2013). "Intersection's angles, sight lines play part in placing stop sign". The Everett Herald. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Google (July 30, 2018). "State Route 531" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "Local espresso stands targeted by robbers". Marysville Globe. August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Roundabout work continues at new Smokey Point intersection". The Everett Herald. October 28, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Lakewood drivers get free right turn back". Marysville Globe. August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Winters, Chris (March 10, 2014). "Highway 531 hasn't kept up with growth in Smokey Point area". The Everett Herald. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Emory, Carmell (November 18, 2009). "Smokey Point overpass bridge renamed for Arlington activist". North County Outlook. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Bray, Kari (July 16, 2015). "$39.3M targeted to widen stretch of Highway 531 in Arlington". The Everett Herald. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Arlington Parks and Trails (Map). City of Arlington. May 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  12. ^ City of Arlington Subdivision Display Map (PDF) (Map). Cartography by Snohomish County Department of Information Systems. City of Arlington. July 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  13. ^ 2016 Annual Traffic Report (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2017. pp. 207–208. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  14. ^ "2017 State Highway National Highway System Routes in Washington" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  15. ^ Kingsberry, Brian (August 8, 2001). "Lakewood — the past, present and future of a historic community". The Arlington Times. p. A6. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Small Town Papers.
  16. ^ Mount Vernon, Wash (Map). 1:125,000. United States Geological Survey. January 1911. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  17. ^ Marysville, Wash (Map). 1:62,500. United States Geological Survey. 1942. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Sheets, Bill (December 2, 2007). "Smokey Point driver's plea: 'Give me a bulldozer'". The Everett Herald. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Chapter 342: State Highway Routes—Revisions to". 1991 Session Laws of the State of Washington, Volume 2 (PDF). Washington State Legislature. May 21, 1991. p. 1908. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  20. ^ Whitely, Peyton (July 23, 2003). "Smokey Point's lines of traffic trapped in past". The Seattle Times. p. H18.
  21. ^ a b c d Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  22. ^ Whitely, Peyton (December 24, 2003). "Drivers' relief just down the road". The Seattle Times. p. H22. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  23. ^ Whitely, Peyton (February 25, 2004). "Grass-roots effort key to project at Smokey Point". The Seattle Times. p. H16.
  24. ^ Arney, Sarah (February 25, 2004). "172nd overpass money nailed". The Arlington Times. p. A1. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  25. ^ Stav, Steve (August 25, 2004). "Community celebrates 172nd overpass groundbreaking". The Arlington Times. p. A1. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  26. ^ Boxleitner, Kirk (December 14, 2005). "172nd overpass opens early". The Arlington Times. p. A1. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  27. ^ "I-5 - 172nd St Street (SR 531 Smokey Point) Interchange Improvements". Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 7, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  28. ^ Whitely, Peyton (November 10, 2004). "Traffic solution rises over freeway". The Seattle Times. p. H16.
  29. ^ Boxleitner, Kirk (May 4, 2005). "Construction proceeds as planned on 172nd St. Bridge". The Arlington Times. p. A1. Retrieved July 30, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  30. ^ Stevick, Eric (August 27, 2009). "I-5 relief arrives in Smokey Point". The Everett Herald. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  31. ^ "I-5 - 172nd Street NE (SR 531 Smokey Point) Interchange Improvements - Complete July 2010". Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  32. ^ "SR 531 - Lakewood Schools Sidewalks - Complete August 2007". Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  33. ^ Boxleitner, Kirk (November 13, 2012). "Roundabout completed on SR 9". The Arlington Times. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  34. ^ "SR 531 Corridor Recommendations: Developing a plan to improve safety and relieve congestion" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. December 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 15, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  35. ^ Cornfield, Jerry (October 28, 2007). "Is roads and transit plan worth the price tag?". The Everett Herald. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  36. ^ Buell, Douglas (March 6, 2020). "172nd Street work coming this year; it's not the big widening project". The Arlington Times. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  37. ^ "SR 531 – 43rd Ave NE to 67th Ave NE – Widening". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 31, 2022.
  38. ^ Watanabe, Ben (April 19, 2021). "As Amazon moves in, Arlington's roads are already strained". The Everett Herald. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  39. ^ Allison, Jacqueline (February 25, 2022). "As Amazon moves in, Arlington road projects aim to ease traffic". The Everett Herald. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  40. ^ "43rd Ave & SR 531 (172nd St) Roundabout". City of Arlington. November 2022. Retrieved December 31, 2022.

External links