State seeks input on how to improve Fall City’s Highway 202

State Route 202 serves as a vital link between the metro Eastside and the Snoqualmie Valley, as well as Fall City’s main street — but doubling as both creates some problems that the state is hoping to fix with two new studies.

The Washington State Department of Transportation along with local Fall City partners and King County is developing a study that will provide recommendations on how to improve the highway. It will be delivered next summer, said Thomas Noyes, senior transportation planner with the state Department of Transportation.

The state is conducting two separate studies. One focuses on the highway beginning east of Sammamish and running to Fall City. The other will look at the highway running through Fall City. The highway has seen two deadly crashes near Ames Lake Road recently, and in Fall City there are safety concerns for pedestrians.

The study will look at fixes that can be implemented rapidly, and not at larger projects such as highway widening. Many of these include intersection and pedestrian crossing improvements.

One intersection in particular that will get attention is where Preston-Fall City Road SE and Highway 202 meet at the east end of Fall City. Noyes said in the past, a roundabout was proposed, but it required too much right-of-way. This study will look at whether a smaller roundabout design could work.

“That intersection is definitely a focus because we know it has a lot of operational challenges there in the city,” Noyes said.

The intersection serving Chief Kanim Middle School and Highway 202 will also be examined for ways to improve it.

Other areas the study will explore include pedestrian crossings in town and how to make the road safer for bicyclists while reducing conflict with trucks that use the highway.

A community survey will be available online by the end of November and will be posted on the Fall City Community Association website. The state will also hold a public open house online.

Funding for the study will come from the state DOT’s Transportation, Planning, Data and Research program. But no funding sources have been identified yet for undertaking recommended improvements.

A stakeholder meeting was held in November, and another will be held in the spring of 2021 when improvements will be proposed. A final package of recommended improvements and the report will be ready by next summer.