For those unfamiliar with State Route 522 (SR 522), it’s a roadway that basically connects Seattle to the city’s northeastern suburbs. In September of 1995, a Reader’s Digest article labeled this roadway as one of “America’s most dangerous highways.” A recent deadly head-on crash on SR 522 perhaps reaffirms this unlikely label. It also motivates our current question: Do you feel safe driving on this highway?
June Crash Results in Two Dead and Two Injured
The safety of 522 came under fire, yet once again, last month after an automobile collision left two dead and two critically injured (including a one-year-old girl). Jeffrey Crettol came upon the collision within minutes of its happening. According to Mr. Crettol, “Seeing something like this is horrible.”
The collision took place during the day. According to the Washington State Patrol, a Mitsubishi (with both an adult and a one-year-old inside) was headed eastbound on SR 522. The car eventually varied towards the shoulder of the road and struck a construction barrel.
The driver of the Mitsubishi then tried to over-correct the car. This resulted in the auto crossing the center lane of the roadway and colliding into an oncoming Ford Fusion. Both people in the Ford died. The driver and one-year-old in the Mitsubishi were taken to the hospital in critical condition. A possible cause of the accident could vary well be 522 itself.
An Inherently Dangerous Road
SR 522 is well known as a dangerous roadway. It’s a two lane undivided highway that has seen its fair share of accidents, collisions and deaths during its time. Over the past 15 years, SR 522 has witnessed approximately 1,800 total accidents, 1,400 injuries, and 50 deaths. As mentioned above, Reader’s Digest named the 10-mile stretch of 522 between Woodinville and Monroe as one of America’s most dangerous highways. A Dateline NBC story and a 2007 Forbes Magazine article have also helped paint 522 as an inherently dangerous road.
Is There a Cure for the Danger?
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) believes a cure exists via widening the highway. The specific widening would take place just west of the Snohomish River Bridge to 179th Avenue SE in Monroe. According to WSDOT’s website:
“Nearly 28,000 vehicles travel this stretch of SR 522 each day. Drivers experience heavy congestion and delays. Widening the road into a four-lane divided highway will reduce congestion and the likelihood of collisions. There were 100 collisions on this stretch of mainline SR 522 from 2006 to 2010, including three fatal collisions and four serious injury collisions. There were an additional 54 collisions at the SR 522/164th Street/Main Street interchange.”
A problem still exists, however, due to funding. According to Q13Fox.com, part of WSDOT’s intended project is now on hold because of a lack of money. The widening project was supposed to be operationally complete by the fall of this year. Due to funding issues though, it could be quite awhile until SR 522 enjoys increased lanes and a median.
Again…Is There a Cure?
As a personal injury firm with years of experience, we can add a few thoughts on the matter. The talented attorneys within our firm have represented countless clients that have been the victims of an extensive range of automobile accidents. These accidents occur every single day and they can occur for a vast array of reasons.
Despite this array of reasoning, however, one truth holds certain in many car collisions that take place in the greater Seattle area. This truth is that many collisions can be avoided with safer and more responsible driving. More often than not, it’s a driver himself that determines whether a collision will happen. The current issues surrounding SR 522 should remind us all to take greater care when operating a vehicle…no matter what roadway we are operating this vehicle on.
As for SR 522 itself, we are interested to hear your opinions. Is the highway truly too inherently dangerous such that even safer driving cannot help reconcile the dangers within? Or, is this really just one of America’s most dangerous highways that needs some type of structural modifications to obtain better safety. Please let us know your thoughts.
Please also know that our trusted firm is here to assist you in the unlikelihood that you have been injured in an auto collision. If you have, please contact us today and let us help!