Sammamish River bridge project still delayed by right-of-way issues

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, News Writer

Sammamish River BridgePhoto by Briana Gerdeman. The city plans to widen or replace the bridge on SR 202 over the Sammamish River, but it’s having a hard time getting right-of-way from the Port of Seattle, which controls the railroad. The city’s plans to widen the Sammamish River bridge are still delayed by not having the necessary right-of-way. Now, the city risks losing grant money if the project takes too long.

The city is working on expanding or replacing the bridge on SR 202 that crosses the Sammamish River. In 2008, the city council approved a design in which the existing bridge would remain and a new bridge would be added to the south, for a total of four lanes of traffic. However, it requires an easement from the Port of Seattle, which controls the nearby railroad.

"The Port has continually changed their requirements, and that’s what makes this so confusing," Tom Hansen, director of the public works department, said. "... Trying to work with them is like hitting a moving target."

City staff has talked to state legislators to try to resolve the issues with the Port of Seattle. It would benefit the state for Woodinville to complete the bridge project, City Manager Richard Leahy said.

"Very few cities invest in the state highway system," Leahy said. "We’ve done it because the state hasn’t, it’s neglected, and we’re the ones that have to live with the traffic."

At the Sept. 10 city council meeting, council members expressed their frustration that Woodinville hasn’t made much progress negotiating with the Port.

"This is the exact same discussion we had in June," Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said. "Nothing’s changed."

"It’s the definition of insanity, and I’m sick of it," Councilmember Hageman said of the interactions with the Port.

Joe McWilliams, the managing director of the Port of Seattle’s real estate division, said the Port isn’t being "obstructionist," but is trying to use taxpayers’ money responsibly.

"The Port is ambivalent about the bridge," McWilliams said. "We certainly wouldn’t object to it."

The problem, he said, is that the proposed design for the bridge encroaches into the safety zone of the railroad, which extends 25 feet from the center of the tracks and exists "to protect life and limb in case of a derailment."

The Port had the land appraised so it could sell the easement to Woodinville. However, building the bridge would change the value of the land, McWilliams said. Since the bridge on SR 202 would prohibit expanding the railroad — for example, for a commuter train service — the land is less useful and therefore worth less.

Now, McWilliams said, the Port is considering selling the land to Woodinville, rather than just selling the easement, so that the city would bear the potential economic loss from not being able to expand the railroad.

At the city council meeting, Hansen presented two alternatives to the original plan for the bridge.

The first alternative would replace the existing bridge and construct a new bridge in phases.

It would add a traffic lane to each side of the bridge, for a total of four lanes, and it would retain bikes lanes and sidewalks on each side, as in the original plan. It would require only a temporary construction easement, not a permanent easement, from the Port.

However, it would cost about $1.2 million more and take longer to build.

The second alternative is closer to the original plan. It would involve constructing a new two-lane bridge south of the existing bridge, but the new bridge wouldn’t have a bike lane. But it would probably stay within budget and within the necessary clearance of the railroad, assuming the Port agrees to a "reasonable resolution" of the right-of-way issues, Hansen said.

And as the process of acquiring the right-of-way drags on, the city faces a deadline. The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) has provided a grant of $1.5 million for the bridge, but Woodinville could lose that money if the project isn’t completed in time.

TIB originally stipulated that the project had to be under construction by the end of 2013.

After Woodinville staff wrote to the TIB explaining the difficulties acquiring right-of-way, the city will be able to keep funding as long as it begins the project by 2014 and finishes by 2015.


Comments or news tips? Contact Briana Gerdeman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Woodinville driver involved in fatal accident

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Accident on 405Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol. Last Thursday night, a 2002 BMW 325 was rear-ended by a 27-year-old Woodinville man. Ian Beckford, the driver of the BMW, was killed in the accident.Last Thursday night at 9:45, a 27-year-old Woodinville man and his passenger, also from Woodinville, were traveling south through Bellevue on I-405 in their 2008 Audi when they rear-ended a 2002 BMW 325 which subsequently caught fire, killing the 22-year-old driver, Ian Riley Beckford of Federal Way.

Another vehicle was also hit.Washington State Patrol Public Information Officer Trooper Chris Webb reported that it is suspected the driver of the Audi was going around 100 mph when the accident occurred. It is further suspected, according to Webb, that the Audi driver was under the influence methamphetamines. Tests are being run to determine the presence of drugs.

At press time, the Audi driver had not yet been charged, so The Woodinville Weekly will not publish his name until charges are filed.

In all, four people, including the driver of the Audi, were transported to Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue with non-life threatening injuries.

The Audi driver was being guarded by WSP troopers until his release from the hospital, at which time Webb reported that he would likely be charged with vehicular homicide.

Car crashes into area business

  • Written by David Weed, WF&R

Hair Masters 1Photo by Julie Boselly. The driver of the minivan shown above made an unexpected entrance into the Hair Masters located on Woodinville-Duvall Road.

A minivan drove through the front door and window of Hair Masters located in the 14100 block of Woodinvill-Duvall Road. The vehicle made it completely inside the business. A receptionist desk was pushed back and the receptionist suffered minor injuries that were treated at the scene.

The driver of the minivan also suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

Neither was transported to a hospital  and there were no other injuries to people inside the business.

Woodinville Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Marijuana retail outlet allocated for Bothell

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, News Writer

MarijuanaPhoto by Briana Gerdeman. Employees Vince Nelson, left, and Cole Vett, right, explain different products to customers at Woodinville Quality Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary. The Washington State Liquor Control Board approved rules that allocate recreational marijuana retail outlets throughout the state. The state Liquor Control Board has allocated one marijuana retail outlet for Bothell, but none for Woodinville or Kenmore.

The allocation of retail outlets is part of the process of legalizing marijuana production, distribution and possession under Initiative 502, which passed last November.

The Board also approved two retail outlets in Kirkland, two in Redmond, one in Mill Creek and one in Mountlake Terrace, out of a total of 334 stores in the state. There will also be 11 stores at large in King County, and 16 stores at large in Snohomish County.

There will be a total of 61 stores allowed in King County and 35 allowed in Snohomish County, according to information from the WSLCB. The locations were distributed based on population data from the Office of Financial Management (OFM).

The stores will be licensed and regulated by the WSLCB, but owned privately. Beginning Nov. 18, there will be a 30-day period for prospective owners to submit applications for a marijuana retailer license. The license will have a $250 application fee and a $1,000 annual renewal fee.

If there are more applications than the allotted number of stores for a city or county, the specific locations will be selected by lottery.

"It’s a tightly controlled market to prevent the product from leaving the state," Brian Smith, communications director for the WSLCB said.

Marijuana retail outlets will only be able to sell marijuana, marijuana-infused products and paraphernalia such as pipes, Smith said. OFM estimates the price will be an average of $12 per gram of marijuana.

Marijuana possession is still illegal for people under 21, and minors under 21 will not be able to enter or work at marijuana retail stores.

According to the WSLCB, marijuana retail stores cannot be located within 1,000 feet of an elementary school, secondary school, playground, recreation center, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter.

Individual cities will be able to make more restrictive zoning rules, Smith said.

Woodinville already has a medical marijuana dispensary, and its owner, Josh Shade, believes the new recreational marijuana retail stores won’t be good for his business, Woodinville Quality Collective  — which is located outside the city limits on SR 9 because of the city’s moratorium on medical marijuana.

"I imagine they’re going to try to shut me down," Shade said, because the owners of recreational marijuana stores will pay more taxes than medical marijuana store owners.

Still, he plans to apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana and will try to stay in business as long as he can even if he doesn’t get a license.

Although recreational marijuana retail stores will mean more competition, "I think there’s a big difference between medical and recreational," Shade said.

A store can’t sell both recreational and medical marijuana, and advertising for recreational marijuana stores can’t refer to curative or therapeutic effects, according to the WSLCB rules.

Local kid chef needs your vote!

  • Written by Shannon Michael, Features Writer

Woodinville resident Amber Kelley, who earlier this year was selected to attend a luncheon at the White House, needs your help.

The 10-year-old student and budding television chef is a finalist in Jamie Oliver’s "Search for a Food Tube Star" contest.

Amber is the only U.S. representative to be selected as one of five finalists in the international contest. The finalist with the video receiving the most "likes" will be mentored by Jamie Oliver’s team, featured on his YouTube channel, and receive video equipment.

To vote for Amber, visit her website, and click on the link to view her video entry and cast your vote.

Voting ends September 22, London time.

Oliver is a well known British TV chef, author, and advocate for healthy eating, especially for children.