West approach to 520 bridge seeking approved status

PSRC’s Executive Board may give final approval to the west approach of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project this week.

The final stage of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project is scheduled to begin in 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation submitted a request to the board to change the status of the SR 520/I-5 to Lake Washington project from Conditionally Approved for Right of Way to Approved.

The project will reconstruct the SR 520 corridor from I-5 to the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. It includes highway lids in Seattle’s Montlake and Roanoke neighborhoods, the south half of a new west approach bridge, and a replacement Portage Bay Bridge and a second drawbridge over the Montlake Cut. The new structures will meet current design standards for earthquakes. The lane configuration of the new SR 520 will have six lanes including two HOV lanes, bicycle/pedestrian facilities, and the ability to accommodate future light rail.

The SR 520 project as a whole received Conditional Approval for Right of Way status in June 2004.

Connecting Washington, the transportation package adopted by the Legislature in 2015, provided the final $1.64 billion needed for the west approach, which fully funded the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project.

PSRC began funding the project with the original Trans-Lake Study in 1997.

WSDOT is preparing to begin the first phase of construction in 2018.

See the full agenda for the Executive Board meeting here or watch it live.


State of the region’s transportation system in 2016

Condition of the region’s roads, bridges, and ferry and transit systems was the focus of a presentation to the Transportation Policy Board this week.

photo of workers replacing expansion joint on I-5

Workers replacing an expansion joint on I-5. (Photo credit – WSDOT)

One of the findings:  The Connecting Washington package provided much-needed funding to address state highway conditions, but didn’t address critical city and county needs.

Analysis shows that conditions vary across jurisdictions based on local funding limitations and opportunities. Going forward, more comprehensive and consistent data collection is necessary to better understand city pavement conditions.

Data shows that ferry conditions are holding steady, yet new funding will be needed to address long-term vessel replacement needs.

Fish-passage barrier removal has re-opened hundreds of miles of fish habitat and is well-funded into the near future.

Another major finding:  The region and state need to evaluate and prioritize I-5 preservation needs, focusing on pavement preservation and seismic retrofit.

About $2 billion is needed to rebuild I-5 through the region.

The Connecting Washington package takes a step in the right direction, providing $1.2 billion over the next 16 years for preservation of highways statewide and targeting I-5 as a priority.

But $435 million in seismic retrofit needs on I-5 through Seattle are not currently prioritized.

The briefing on the state of the system is one in a series of presentations to the board that will help set the stage for the next update of the regional transportation plan in 2018.

You can see the presentation here or watch the video (starting at about 34:31).

 


West approach to 520 bridge fully funded

The Executive Board is poised to take an action that would allow the SR 520, I-5 to Floating Bridge project to move forward.

Connecting Washington funded the remaining portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement.

Connecting Washington funded the remaining portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement.

That action is to confirm the project meets all federal, state and local requirements and add it to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program. The Washington State Department of Transportation is scheduled to present the $4.56 billion project to the board at its meeting on January 28, 2016.

Connecting Washington, the recent transportation package adopted by the Legislature, will provide the final $1.64 billion needed for the west approach to the new bridge and fully fund the project.

PSRC began funding the project with the original Trans-Lake Study in 1997.

The floating bridge is scheduled to open this April and a community celebration is planned for the weekend of April 2. WSDOT will be working closely with the City of Seattle as the construction begins for the I-5 to the bridge portion in 2018.

See the full Executive Board agenda or watch the meeting here.


Moving forward: I-5 project near JBLM & expansion of light rail fleet

The Transportation Policy Board will take up two big transportation projects this week.

map of proposed options on I-5 near JBLM

The proposed improvements on I-5 would reduce chronic traffic congestion and improve safety through the JBLM corridor.

WSDOT is ready to go with the I-5 (Mounts Road to Thorne Lane) corridor improvements funded through the Connecting Washington transportation package passed by the legislature earlier this year.

The transportation board will also take up Sound Transit’s ST2 Light Rail Vehicle Fleet Expansion project.

This $733 million project will fund all aspects of the manufacturing, delivery and testing of 122 light rail vehicles for ST2 projects, including Northgate, East Link and Lynnwood Link.

Both agencies have requested that PSRC add the projects to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  To be included in the Regional TIP, projects must comply with federal and state requirements, and be consistent with VISION 2040 and Transportation 2040.

Two smaller projects funded by Connecting Washington are also ready to go – the SR 518/Des Moines interchange improvements and Highway 3/304 interchange modifications in Kitsap County.

Also on the board’s agenda:

  • PSRC’s Project Tracking Exceptions Policy
  • Transit Integration: System Access and Parking
  • 2015 Regional Transit Integration Summit Meeting Summary & Next Steps
  • A recommendation on a dozen comprehensive plans

You can see the entire agenda packet here. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 8, in PSRC’s board room. You can also watch the meeting online.


405 to 167 HOV ramps in Renton moving forward

The region’s first project being funded by Washington’s new transportation package is ready to move forward.

The primary benefit of the flyover ramps are safety and congestion relief.

The primary benefit of the flyover ramps are safety and congestion relief.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has requested the change in Transportation 2040 project status from candidate to approved for I-405 Corridor: SR 167 Direct HOV Ramps.

The $325 million project is fully funded and has met all of the conditions to move forward to construction.

The Transportation Policy Board will be reviewing the project at its meeting on Thursday. See the full agenda.

 


Governor Inslee signs transportation package into law

State and regional leaders joined Governor Jay Inslee at the University of Washington today as the state’s biggest ever transportation investment package was signed into law.

Governor signs package

Governor Jay Inslee is flanked by House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn of Mercer Island and Senate Transportation Chairman Curtis King of Yakima as he signs the historic transportation package into law.

“I’ve been advocating for a transportation investment package since my first day in office. Legislators passed a 16-year, $16 billion package that will create thousands of jobs, address critical safety needs around the state, make historic investments in transit and fund projects that relieve congestion,” the Governor said.  “Together, we will move our state forward.”

Here’s how the Governor’s office summarized the package:

Moving WA forward

For the central Puget Sound region, it’s estimated that the package could result in as much $26 billion in new transportation investment.

PSRC staff has prepared a summary of the sources and uses of funding in the package and a list of specific projects funded within the region.


Transportation package sent to Governor

Final votes in the state House sent the state’s largest transportation investment package to Governor Jay Inslee.

Governor

Governor Inslee on the poison pill: “This creates a tough decision, and I’ll make it after I review all our options.”

“This is an incredibly important investment package that creates hundreds of thousands of construction jobs, greatly strengthens our economic prospects into the future, and makes historic investments in transit and other multi-modal improvements that provide reliable options for commuters across the state,” the Governor said.

But the Governor has yet to decide whether all of the investments in the package will go forward.

The so called “poison-pill” in the package would withhold spending of about $2 billion on ferries, transit and other investments should the Governor proceed with enforcement of a new clean fuel standard.

“I signed this transportation package even though it included the poison pill because it’s important that we move forward on critical investments that provide safety, jobs and traffic relief,” Inslee said. “This creates a tough decision, and I’ll make it after I review all our options.”

The final votes in the state legislature were the culmination of a years-long effort by a broad statewide coalition of business, government, labor and civic interests.

The Puget Sound Regional Council first recommended a new transportation package in the Fall of 2010.

PSRC staff has prepared a summary of the sources and uses of funding in the package and a list of specific projects funded within the region.