Transportation: Shortening Commute Times & Making Our Roads Safer
Thank you to those who joined us for our community coffees last month. The conversations were thoughtful, informative, and productive.
One of the most common issues brought up at nearly every community coffee was the need to address our region’s transportation challenges. Our roads are congested and bottlenecks create slow and dangerous commutes. Our neighbors should be able to spend more time with their families and friends rather than getting stuck in traffic or worrying about the safety of traveling our roads.
I-90 and Highway 18
The good news is that the legislature has started working on solving this problem. The expansion of the I-90 and Highway 18 interchange is funded and on its way to completion. It is going through the design, environmental review, and approval process this year and will go out to bid next year.
To reduce collisions and budget costs alike, this project is being designed as a “diverging diamond” interchange. This design will reduce possible collision points by as much as 50%. You can find out more about this innovative approach at this WSDOT video.
As soon as this October, work will begin to modify the on-ramp to westbound I-90 from Snoqualmie Ridge. This will improve the flow of cars going through the traffic light at the I-90 / Highway 18 intersection while the diverging diamond interchange construction is underway.
A new lane in each direction will also be constructed on I-90 from Issaquah to Eastgate. Construction on this lane is starting now and will continue through next year.
Both of us are committed to completing these vital improvements as quickly and effectively as possible, so these communities can get the traffic relief they need.
Highway 18 at Hobart Road
Last session’s final Transportation Budget also had a big win for our region. It allocated an additional $27 million over the next four years for the initial planning and approval phase to widen State Route 18 from Hobart Rd to Raging River.
All of us who live in this area know exactly how important this project is. This was a top priority for both of us. We pushed hard for this investment and were happy to see it in the final budget. This is only the first step of the project; we will continue work to ensure the Highway 18 expansion is completed as fast as possible.
We know that these projects will only address a few of the transportation challenges in our district. As the state makes future transportation investments, we will be fighting for the needs of eastern and southern King County.
We will be looking for enhancements to traffic infrastructure like:
Improvements on SR 202, SR 203, SR 169, and SR 516 to make travel safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.
Creative and cost-effective public transit solutions in and out of Issaquah, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, and the Snoqualmie Valley.
Special thanks must be given to the Snoqualmie Tribe. Their partnership has been invaluable in our efforts to improve Highway 18.
We need to thank you as well. Your engagement is vital to this process and your comments and suggestions are invaluable. Community feedback is especially important in developing a safe and efficient transportation infrastructure.
Rep. Lisa Callan Rep. Bill Ramos