Dear friends and neighbors,
In last week’s e-newsletter, I mentioned that my number-one priority this session was to keep traffic moving. Yesterday, I sent a letter to the chairs of the Senate and House transportation committees urging them to accelerate the timing of the SR 18/ I-90 interchange project so production of the new interchange can start this year instead of in 2023.
Anyone who travels this section of I-90 knows how maddening the gridlock and traffic can be. But it’s more than just a nuisance. It’s flat out dangerous. Frustrated motorists are illegally cutting lines and making risky U-turns, and the traffic in this area is only going to get worse as the population continues to grow. In fact, the cities in the surrounding area have grown by 20 percent in the last decade and there isn’t any sign that’s going to let up.
Moving the start date up on this project also makes fiscal sense. The gridlock in this area is hampering commerce and hurting Washington’s businesses — particularly freight travelling from Eastern Washington to our ports. Also, all the accidents and illegal traffic maneuvers are forcing the state to pay more to the Washington State Patrol for their services in the area. Lastly, we can save the state money by taking advantage of better interest rates that are available right now. Resolving this problem now is the responsible thing to do.
Because of the congestion at this interchange, more drivers are taking alternate routes, clogging up other sections of road and highway. One area that has been hit hard is the intersection at SR 169 and Cedar Grove. Last session, we were able to secure funding in the transportation budget to conduct a traffic safety study of SR 169 between Maple Valley and Renton. That study indicates that a roundabout at the Cedar Grove/ SR 169 intersection could speed up the flow of traffic in this area. I’m going to explore this recommendation further. We need to get creative if we are going keep traffic moving and cut down on accidents.
Thanks for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. The better I understand your priorities and values, the better I can represent your interests.