Opinion

Public Hearing Needed

You will recall at the last Mount Si Advisory Group meeting on April 19, 2001, I spoke, as a guest, to members and county staff present stating the following: This was a significant bridge and road project affecting the lives of several thousand country folks every day who travel the Mount Si Road. They should be asked by the county to voice their comments in a publicized open meeting at the soonest possible date after being given sufficient information. I formally requested the county call for a public hearing, otherwise citizens may have their own public hearing. You said that you would respond to me.

Yesterday [June 25] I received a boxholder yellow card, saying you will have a public hearing on July 17, 2001. Thank you. Much of the support for this action should be given to Jim McKiernan, our Snoqualmie Valley Record general manager, for his "Bridge alternatives need scrutiny" editorial on April 26, 2001, and our councilman, David Irons, for his decision to go public.

The county should propose to all Mount Si Road residents the shortest route to Interstate 90. The majority of these residents use the interchange at 436th Avenue Southeast on weekdays, and Seattle hikers should use this interchange more on weekends to access the most popularly hiked mountain in the state. East North Bend Way is becoming increasingly more congested as the only route today through town.

It is my understanding the county has an 80 percent federal grant to replace the Mount Si Road bridge. This doesn't mean it has to be rebuilt in its present location where traffic bottlenecks now occur a few hundred feet east at the awkward roadway intersection of Mount Si Road and East North Bend Way. It may cost the county taxpayer more to build an interchange at Mount Si Road and East North Bend Way and a replacement bridge in its current location with the grant than to use the existing federal interchange at 436th Avenue Southeast and relocate the bridge through virgin lands upstream one mile.

Of course, the best course of action for the county to take is to leave the current bridge in place and construct a new bridge accessing 436th Avenue Southeast directly, thus facilitating more reliable fire and police coverage with a Mount Si road loop system.

Please remember, partial free bridge inducement money with substantial higher road costs to solve traffic congestion is not a free lunch to the taxpayer.


Ewing Stringfellow

North Bend

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