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Transportation dollars to benefit Upper Valley

SNOQUALMIE - Despite the onset of Initiative 695, the state's

Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) feels comfortable in going to

the Washington State Legislature with a request for $167.5 million in

transportation project funding. Of that amount, $31 million will go directly to

projects in King County, including several in the Snoqualmie Valley.

The key will be in getting authorization from the Legislature to

include the request in Washington's 2001-2003 budget. However, King

County Councilman Rob McKenna is confident the funding authorization

will survive the state budget process.

"This is a highly effective use of gas tax revenues and federal

transportation funds," he said. "Despite

Initiative 695, we are moving ahead with major transportation programs

and smaller projects that make a difference in local communities."

The state created the TIB to administer funding to local

government transportation projects. McKenna, who represents the county's sixth

district, serves as the vice-chairman of the board, which allocates

revenue from the gas tax in combination with federal money, local matching

funds and private sector contributions.

"A number of the projects in the Valley are coming out of

federal funds," McKenna said. "The

Legislature has always accepted the recommendations of the Transportation

Improvement Board. The transportation budget is separate and is

routinely adopted by the Legislature."

Of the $31million, $24 million in funding is targeted for major

arterial needs in the urban areas of the county. The remainder goes to the rural

areas including Valley projects. For Snoqualmie proper, this

includes $300,000 towards Park Street projects and $225,000 for the design and

acquisition of a right-of-way for a trail bridge over the Snoqualmie River.

"We put in for three grants, or at least part of all three," said

Snoqualmie Public Works Director Gary Armstrong. "The work done so far

on Park Street is only a portion. This new [funding] is a new grant from the

small city account. It will involve total reconstruction beginning

at Meadowbrook and extending south to the new park entrance at the tree farm.

"Park Street also received additional funding under a small city

pedestrian grant program totaling $74,000. It will put in new

sidewalks on both sides of Park from Schusman to Newton Street."

Armstrong said the new crossing of the Snoqualmie River came

under a regional enhancement grant utilizing TEA-21 (Transportation

Equity Account-21st century) funds. The structure will carry pedestrians

and utilities across the river immediately east of the existing road bridge.

"The bridge will be a public-private partnership with

Weyerhaeuser and King County," he added. "It

will become a critical link to other trails in the region. We have $225,000 and

already have $86,000 in place from another TEA-21 source."

In North Bend, $237,000 will be allocated for two miles of

pedestrian and bike trails near the Meadowbrook Farm site. In addition, the

Northwestern Railway Museum will receive $257,200 to restore the historic

old Northern Pacific bridge over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie.

Museum Curator Richard Anderson said the historic crossing is now one of the

oldest bridges standing in King County.

"It's a through-in connected truss, a really old style of engineering,"

he commented.

"It will be quite a major project, over a sensitive area. The bridge

will be washed, spot-blasted to take care of corrosion, will receive zinc

coating and then a coat of semi-gloss urethane paint. The projected life for the

repairs and painting is 30 to 40 years."

"The project will be administered by the local office of the

Department of Transportation," Anderson concluded. "The museum

provides matching obligation of 20 percent towards the cost of the project

and must also cover the costs of DOT administration."

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