State’s $9.8 billion transportation budget includes millions for Pierce County projects

Huge new freeway overpass at JBLM is just part of a much bigger project

Intestate 5 lane additions and two new freeway overpasses highlight a 10-year, $495 million dollar Washington Department of Transportation traffic-improvement project.
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Intestate 5 lane additions and two new freeway overpasses highlight a 10-year, $495 million dollar Washington Department of Transportation traffic-improvement project.

The state Legislature on Sunday approved the two-year, $9.8 billion transportation budget that builds on the 2015 Connecting Washington package.

“This budget addresses the transportation needs of our state in a fiscally responsible way,” Sen. Steve Hobbs, the Lake Stevens Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Transportation committee, said in a statement. “This was a good, bipartisan effort to keep our promises and move our state forward.”

“This is about adapting to changing times and technology,” Rep. Jake Fey, the Tacoma Democrat and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said when the bill was released earlier this year. “Our state’s population has grown by 1 million in the past few years because of our booming economy, but that growth has put a great strain on our highways, ferries and transportation system. We’re proposing smart, cost-effective ways to deal with those changes.”

New projects include a $35 million for creation of a project office and predesign work for the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River. Several projects had funding advanced, including $40 million for the state Route167/state Rout 509 Puget Sound Gateway project and $17 million for I-90 Snoqualmie Pass.

The city of Tacoma and the Department of Transportation are working to clear debris and hazardous material and to implement safety improvements along state highways within Tacoma city limits. This combined investment of just more than $1 million will improve public health and safety and remove debris from right-of-ways.

Ferry investments include providing for the start of building a new 144-car hybrid electric vessel, along with converting one existing ferry. The ferries division received $495,000 for planning work needed to prepare for hybrid-electric vessel terminal charging investments.

The budget also includes $160,000 for a vessel noise reduction study aimed at helping protect the endangered southern resident orcas.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan cooperation and outcome of this budget,” Hobbs said. “This is a good budget, but it is a bare-bones budget. Our state has many transportation needs and lacks the means to meet them: fish culverts, replacement of the I-5 bridge in Vancouver, the U.S. 2 trestle in Snohomish County and many other projects large and small across the state.”

Following are some of the major projects in Pierce County:

▪ $165 million for I-5 JBLM corridor improvements. The project will construct an additional lane on I-5 between the Thorne Lane and the Mounts Road Interchange, reconstruct the Thorne Lane, Berkeley Street, and Steilacoom-DuPont interchanges, construct a connector road between the Gravelly Lake Drive and Thorne Lane interchanges to divert local traffic off I-5 and construct a separated bike/pedestrian trail.

$136 million to construct high occupancy vehicle lanes on I-5 in Tacoma from South 48th Street to the King County line.

$16.2 million for improvements in the vicinity of I-5 and Port of Tacoma Road to facilitate freight movement.

$7.9 million for the preservation activities in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Renew and Replacement Plan.

▪ $3.9 million to widen DuPont Steilacoom Road by adding a new lane in each direction from Wharf Road to north of Station Drive.

$3.8 million for Pierce Transit to construct a new park-and-ride lot, including a bus staging and turnaround facility, as an anchor for bus rapid transit along Pacific Avenue/state Route 7 at a location in Spanaway to be determined. The proposed project includes enhanced security features and passenger boarding zones, as well as an operator comfort station and restroom facilities for passenger use.

$3.7 million for Pierce Transit to extend service on Route 1 by adding peak hour trips serving the Pacific Avenue/Route 7 corridor between downtown Tacoma and Parkland/Spanaway.

$2.1 million for Pierce Transit — bus rapid transit stations on Pacific Ave/Route 7 corridor.

$1.2 million for the Interurban Trail and trailhead to relocate and rebuild a 2,100-foot segment of trail that is in the vicinity of an Route 167/Route 509 Gateway Project segment in Fife.

$1.1 million for the Tacoma Rail Marine View Drive track repairs.

$500,000 to rebuild the bridge and reconfigure two intersections at the Traffic Avenue/Route 410 interchange.

$401,000 to install ramp meters eastbound Route 512/I-5 to Route 7 eastbound.

$400,000 for Tacoma Rail-Tote Yard track repairs.

$240,000 for Tacoma Rail-Mazda siding upgrade.

$200,000 for the Point Defiance ferry terminal to install an emergency generator for power backup and construct a fourth holding lane to accommodate traffic.

Funding for the following projects covers multiple counties

$265 million to construct a new four-lane alignment on Route 167 between I-5 in Tacoma and Route 161 in Puyallup; connects Route 509 south from SeaTac to I-5.

$17.7 million to manage congestion on Route 167/Route 410 to Route 18. The project consists of re-striping the existing roadway to create a northbound managed lane and installing lane control signing, closed-circuit television cameras, data stations, ramp meters, variable message sign and illumination. A fish passage barrier within the project limits also will be addressed.

$11.8 million to construct an eastbound Route 18 off-ramp with connection to Route 164.

$255,000 for Washington State Ferries’ Marine Vessel Chetzemoka.

$220,000 to develop a targeted approach to growing the vanpool program through focus groups and partnerships with business associations, including an educational campaign.

$180,000 for Washington State Ferries’ Marine Vessel Kennewick.

$160,000 to expand outreach and education efforts to all state agencies on the Olympia Capitol Campus about mobile work such as telework, compressed work weeks and flexible work hours.

$141,000 for preservation of MV Kennewick by protecting the vessel in sound-operating condition by addressing life cycle preservation needs. Work includes replacement or refurbishment of structural, interior, steel, piping, propulsion, major mechanical, electrical life saving and communication systems that are past their life cycles.

Source: Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee and Office of Financial Management