Funding funneled to East King County transportation projects thanks to work from 5th District legislators

This week, the governor signed an $8.5 billion transportation budget. Of the funding provided in the new, two-year budget, nearly $9 million will be funneled to projects impacting the 5th Legislative District.

Chief among those projects is the I-90/SR 18 interchange project, which will improve travel times and safety at the interchange. The project was given $150 million in the Connecting Washington package, a 16-year plan that passed the state Legislature in 2015, but the design of the project wouldn’t have begun until 2023. Fifth District Reps. Jay Rodne and Paul Graves secured an additional $5 million in the 2017-19 transportation budget to advance the project’s design process by six years so it could begin later this year.

Rodne says it’s about time the project moved forward, citing concerns over previous collisions that nearly cost commuters’ lives.

“It’s well known that the I-90/SR 18 interchange is one of the busiest interchanges in Washington,” said Rodne, R-Snoqualmie. “Drivers who idle in traffic daily on I-90 waiting to merge onto SR 18 can attest to how dangerous the commute can be. It’s only a matter of time before lives are lost at this interchange.”

In February, a collision near the interchange ended with serious injuries and a trip to Harborview Medical Center for one commuter, as well as lane closures for several hours. Last summer, a fiery crash shut down the interstate for hours while crews cleared the area. The East King County lawmakers say they’ve heard loud and clear from constituents that congestion relief cannot wait any longer.

“Waiting until 2023 wasn’t a realistic option, and I’m pleased the Legislature agreed,” said Graves, R-Fall City. “This interchange is essentially a gateway between much of the Puget Sound and Eastern Washington. Prioritizing this redesign was a common-sense step to making roads safer for all drivers.”

In addition to the interchange project and SR 18 widening, $1.5 million has been allocated to redesign the intersection of SR 900 and 12th Ave. N.W. in Issaquah. The project will increase turning capacity at the intersection and reduce the amount of time commuters sit at a red light. Other local projects 5th District residents can expect to see the next two years include repaving of the I-90/Front Street exit in Issaquah and a new street overlay in North Bend.

For a full list of projects affecting the 5th District, click here and select “5th Legislative District.”

In addition to funding local improvements, the 2017-19 transportation budget will help recruit and retain highly qualified state troopers, study and repair structurally deficient bridges, fund continued operation of ferries, and implement other Connecting Washington projects.


Washington State House Republican Communications