A dangerous two-lane road that truckers frequent to avoid Seattle-area traffic became a four-lane highway Tuesday. State transportation officials are hopeful the widening and a 48-foot grass median will reduce head-on collisions.
The stretch of Highway 18 between Covington and Maple Valley, dubbed "Blood Alley" over the past decade, has been the site of 297 accidents between 1989 and 2001. The highway's narrow design has been blamed for contributing to a number of bad crashes and more than 15 deaths.
The road, which winds through Covington and rural areas between Highway 167 south of Renton and I-90 east of Issaquah, serves as a thoroughfare for local residents and commuters on their way to Seattle and the Eastside. It also sees a lot of truck traffic.
Two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane are open. The second westbound lane will open within a couple of weeks.