Driving through Sumner during rush hour, cars quickly stack up on the state Route 410 overpass at Sumner’s Traffic Avenue and Puyallup’s East Main Avenue.
With nearly 10,000 people now working in Sumner, the two-lane overpass has quickly grown inadequate to carry folks safely to work, the Sounder train station, and home for many.
The main gateway into the city of Sumner is in need of a revamp, and city officials, citizens and business owners are banding together to encourage lawmakers to help fund the estimated $20 million to fix the interchange. With the Sounder Station improvements expected to be completed by 2018, the cities of Sumner and Puyallup and Sound Transit have committed support for the project, but need an immediate financial commitment to keep the project moving forward in order to complete it in time to accommodate the expanded commuter parking for the Sounder.
Puyallup Mayor John Knutsen and Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow partnered with business owners and East Pierce Fire to send a packet of letters last month to state Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, and other state representatives to garner financial support of the project.
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“It may not seem like much on a map, but the outdated, two-lane interchange is causing a bottleneck that affects mobility in Sumner and Puyallup as well as the region,” the letter from Knutsen and Enslow reads. “It is a main route for key regional distributors such as Costco, REI, Sonoco and Precision Aerospace, and is the more direct route to the Port of Tacoma for these industries. Currently, the interchange serves an estimated 3,000 tractor-trailers a day, which is just a small portion of its overall use.”
Carmen Palmer, communications director for the City of Sumner, says the intersection was recently rated an “F” during a traffic study of the intersection.
“The goal is to provide more space for drivers and eliminate the choke point,” Palmer said.
So far, communities’ letters have yet to receive any opposition from lawmakers, according to Palmer.
“If Sumner and Puyallup can work with WSDOT to fix this overpass so that it works and add multi-modal options, we all win,” wrote Roger Knutson of Knutson Farms. “We get the tools to be even more successful at business, which generates a strong tax base, and regionally, we get cars off the highways and into garages as more people take mass transit.”
There is yet to be an expected date to receive an answer from Olympia, but things are moving in the right direction, Palmer said.
Residents who would like to show support for funding of the 410 overpass can call Palmer at 253-299-5503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact their state representative directly.