To offer traffic relief during the upcoming redevelopment of the Interstate 90 and Highway 18 interchange, the city of Snoqualmie is exploring the possibility of creating a dedicated on-ramp from Snoqualmie Parkway westbound to I-90.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Sen. Mark Mullet called Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson to discuss the possibility of creating a dedicated on-ramp to alleviate traffic of Snoqualmie citizens commuting west. Mullet proposed a $1.2 million project to begin work that could break ground as soon as this summer.
However, the Washington State Department of Transportation did not support funding the project from the $150 million set aside for the full interchange construction, so the $1.2 million would need to be funded separately. Mullet said finding the full funding for a 1.2 million capital project would be difficult and offered the city a 50/50 match to fund the work.
According to WSDOT, the on-ramp would be used through 2021, but Larson was unsure if it would survive through construction from 2021 to 2023, as construction efforts on the interchange will shift around the area and get in the way of the road.
On Jan. 14, the city council discussed the offer and were supportive of creating relief for commuters that have been backed up on to Snoqualmie Parkway every morning. However, they were wary of the possibility that a $600,000 payment for a project might only last a few years.
The council collectively encouraged the city and Mullet to push WSDOT for a project that would last through the entire construction process and even the possibility of making the on-ramp permanent.
Larson said Councilmember Sean Sundwall began a discussion on the Snoqualmie Ridge Facebook group with several citizens on the possibility of the project and what kinds of funding methods citizens would support if they wanted to see a westbound on-ramp become a reality.
While no funding method has been selected, Larson took the council’s discussion and opinions on the offer back to Mullet, who has been able to re-appropriate $600,000 in matching funds from the $150 million interchange project.
More discussion on the on-ramp project is planned for future meetings as well as the Snoqualmie City Council retreat scheduled for Feb. 8 and 9.