The 2019 legislative session wrapped up last weekend, with the the newly approved budget allocating needed funding for several Snoqualmie Valley projects.
The biggest news is probably the $27 million contained in the transportation budget for the engineering/planning to widen SR 18 over Tiger Mountain – the dangerous stretch between the Raging River and Issaquah Hobart Road. This piece of the puzzle wasn’t funded by the $150 I-90/SR 18 interchange improvement project.
The $27 million is allocated over four years and will make the SR 18 widening project ‘shovel ready’ – meaning it will cover all the planning, engineering and environmental permitting work.
5th District Senator Mark Mullet said widening this stretch of SR 18 is estimated to cost around $285 million. He said the remaining project funding will most likely require a separate transportation bill – which he thinks legislators will contemplate during the next legislative session.
Mullet explained, though, that the state would not be spending millions on engineering work for the SR 18 widening project unless it was considered a top transportation priority and planned to complete it. The engineering work is expected to be done by 2023 – right as the 90/18 interchange improvement construction project is projected to finish, meaning the widening phase could seamlessly begin.
5th District Rep. and State Transportation Committee member Bill Ramos said, “As I have said before, we had two major priorities when we came to Olympia, get I-90, State Route 18 interchange finished as quickly as possible and secure funding to widen the last bit of State Route 18 to four lanes.”
Some other local noteworthy news in the budget was the $2 million allocated to help Encompass build its new Snoqualmie campus on the site of the old Honey Farm Inn. Encompass tore the partially-burned, former hotel down in April 2018.
The Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activities Center (YAC), located on Boalch Ave in North Bend, received $412,000 to help complete construction of its new building. The NW Railway Museum also received $229,000 for restoration work. Echo Glen received almost $10 million for an Acute Mental Health Unit.