The $1.47 billion to widen Interstate 405 and help build a new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge was the showstopper provided by the Legislature's...
The $1.47 billion to widen Interstate 405 and help build a new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge was the showstopper provided by the Legislature’s recent curtain call. But the Eastside came away with millions more in gas-tax funding to improve packed roads from Bellevue to Bothell.
That money will help Issaquah build a transportation-management center to better steer traffic through its streets; help the University of Washington expand its Bothell campus with a new interchange on Highway 522; and fund passing lanes, safety research and studies on how to move freight more efficiently.
Here’s a sampling of what the Eastside will get out of the state’s new transportation package from gas-tax revenue:
• $13 million for a new interchange in 2006 on Highway 522 to connect commuter students to the UW-Bothell and Cascadia Community College campus in Bothell. Under an agreement with the city, the schools could not grow beyond the equivalent of 3,000 full-time students until they built a new route to campus.
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Carl Young, a Cascadia spokesman, said the funds, combined with other money from the state and the federal government, will enable the schools to expand and help meet the region’s growing demand for higher education.
• $1.5 million to help Issaquah build a traffic-management center, upgrade and synchronize the city’s traffic signals, place cameras at intersections to alert traffic engineers to accidents and other delays, and add electronic message signs to city streets to improve traffic flow in 2006.
• Two stretches of Highway 203 will get new passing shoulders and intersection improvements in 2009 to reduce the risk of collisions. A section in Duvall between 268th Avenue and Northeast Big Rock received $3.8 million; a section in Carnation around Tolt Hill Road Northeast will get $2 million.
• $300,000 to install new cable guardrails in the Highway 522 median in 2007 to reduce head-on collisions between North Creek and Bear Creek.
• $2.5 million to widen Highway 202 in 2007 from Highway 522 to 127th Place Northeast to make truck movement more efficient.
• $500,000 to study Highway 202 from Sahalee Way to Duthie Hill Road for ways to improve safety and ease congestion.
“All of these investments that we’re making are important not just for our own personal mobility,” said state Rep. Fred Jarrett , R-Mercer Island. “They’re also important as far as being able to support trade and jobs and places for us to go during the commute to work.”
Starting in July, motorists will pay 3 cents more per gallon of gasoline — and 9.5 cents more per gallon over the next four years — to fund $8.5 billion of transportation work statewide, including wider highways, park-and-ride lots, seismic retrofits of ailing bridges, ferry-terminal repairs and new freeway interchanges.
The money comes with a string attached, however. The transportation plan calls for the central Puget Sound region to come up with its share of local money to complete projects such as I-405 and the 520 bridge by January 2007 or risk losing the money.
The Regional Transportation Investment District — consisting of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — is expected to put a transportation package before voters in fall 2006.
Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or email@example.com