Olympia Report: Speeding up congestion relief

congestion relief traffic

By Senator Joe Fain

 

congestion relief traffic

Anyone who has driven near the intersection of Highway 18 and Interstate 90 during peak commute times has experienced what WSDOT tells us: the interchange is one of the busiest in our entire state.

Not only do the backups create massive delays for people and trucks, but the area has become a site for many automobile collisions.

In 2015, we were able to secure more than $150 million to completely redesign and rebuild the interchange, but construction was not slated to begin until 2023 at the earliest.

I’m pleased to announce that in the Senate transportation budget passed last week we were able to move the start time up to the next two years. By getting the project underway and then finished sooner, people can spend less time stuck in traffic and more time with their families.

Closer to home we were also able to speed up what’s known as the “Covington Connector,” a new route joining SR 516 and Highway 18 by extending from S 204th Ave SE through to S 256th St.

The project was originally slated to receive the majority of state funding between 2019 and 2021. Under the new plan, the City of Covington could fund the project up front with state funds repaying the city in order to complete the project earlier.

I will continue to advocate for these important improvements as we work with the House of Representatives to find agreement on an updated transportation budget this year.