In January, 5th District Senator Mark Mullet said the state had agreed to a cost sharing project that could bring a dedicated on-ramp to I-90 from Snoqualmie Parkway. The estimated $1.2 million project price tag would be split between the state and the City of Snoqualmie.
At the time Mayor Larson said, “While a strong majority of the City Council expressed support for funding the $600k match, they also strongly encouraged my administration to pursue cost reductions with WSDOT and contributions from other benefiting cities in southeast King County.”
Two such contributions were recently secured for the project. According to a city news release, on March 27, 2019, the Snoqualmie Tribe Impact Mitigation Committee unanimously voted to contribute $75,000 to the city’s effort to raise matching funds for a dedicated lane from Snoqualmie Parkway onto westbound 90 at the I-90/SR 18 interchange.
“The Tribe is committed and grateful for this opportunity to partner with the City of Snoqualmie in the effort to improve travel times while improving safety measures through one of the busiest intersections in the State,” said Snoqualmie Tribe Vice Chair and Impact Committee Member Michael Ross.
The City of Covington’s City Council also recently approved a $50,000 contribution toward the project. Additionally, Mayor Larson said he’s had positive conversations with the City of Maple Valley for a similar pending contribution.
In January there was discussion that the city could utilize a temporary (two-year) Transportation District Fee assessed on car tabs as a major revenue source for the on-ramp project. That revenue funding decision would have to be approved by the city council, though.
The city said the dedicated lane would reduce traffic traveling through the signalized intersection, which is a critical intersection for Snoqualmie commuters.
If the necessary funds are raised, WSDOT will construct the lane (most likely using the weigh station return lane) to create an alternative access point for traffic leaving Snoqualmie during the much-anticipated, I-90/SR 18 interchange improvement project. That $150 project is tentatively scheduled to start construction in 2021, with the re-designed interchange completed in 2023.
The timeline for the potential new dedicated on-ramp lane is dependent on raising funds to be matched by WSDOT and ofter factors like environment issues in the interchange improvement project area.
Construction wouldn’t begin until after the weigh station is permanently closed, which is required to reconstruct the 90/18 interchange. The state has yet to decided on where to relocate the station. Eastbound I-90 at milepost 45 was the most recent spot being examined after the City of North strongly objected to it being located near milepost 34, which was originally the state’s preferred location.
“We are very grateful for the generous support from the Snoqualmie Tribe and other partners for this long overdue and much-needed project,” stated Mayor Matt Larson. “Such partnerships are essential for solving tough regional problems.”
[The Snoqualmie Tribe Impact Mitigation Committee provides funding to mitigate impacts on public services such as law enforcement, emergency services, human services programs, and other service agencies, including traffic and transportation, resulting from the operation of the Snoqualmie Casino. Committee Members include one representative each from the City of Snoqualmie, King County, and the State of Washington, and two representatives from the Snoqualmie Tribe.]