MARCH 10, 1997
Once in Woodinville's distant future, the proposed "slip-ramp" from SR-522 to the city's downtown is now a good candidate for two state grants. Conceptual alignments are shown.
Image courtesy of City of Woodinville.
by Jeff Switzer, senior staff reporter
WOODINVILLE--With the support of several local and state agencies, including Metro and the City of Bothell, the conceptual third freeway ramp into downtown's future retail development should be high on the list of candidates for grant funds from state and federal gas taxes.
Once 20 years into the future, the "slip-ramp" could be a reality five to 10 years from now. There are currently at least two conceptual alternatives: an additional lane splitting off at the Dairy Queen exit, traveling under the overpass, across Little Bear Creek and the Burlington Northern railroad tracks to the future Target shopping center; or an altogether new off-ramp beyond the SR-522 northbound merge lane. Also under consideration is a northbound on-ramp to SR-522 from the TRF development.
Woodinville city staff caution that while they are enthusiastic, alignments are yet to be determined, and the project is still in the conceptual phase. "Everything's unfolding really fast on this," said Kurt Latt, the city's traffic engineer.
"I think we have a strong position because of the TRF project, and by pulling all the agencies together on this, we'll tend to rate higher in the grant process," Latt said. "We have everything going for us you could possibly have. There's not a whole lot more you could do to move us up any more."
The Washington State Department of Transportation has also joined the list of supporters for the project.
Several years ago, when the Fred Meyer corporation was interested in part of the now-TRF site, the slip-ramp project ranked second in the state for a Transportation Improvement Account (TIA) grant because of Fred Meyer's proposed roadway improvements.
Fred Meyer's proposal was replaced by the TRF shopping center, which will construct $2.64 million in road improvements, counting as local participation in the eyes of the state.
The city is looking at applying for $1.5 million from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) grant, and applied for a $2.5 million TIA grant in January. TIA funds come from state gas taxes; ISTEA funds come from federal gas taxes.
If approved, ISTEA funds could be available in 1999 and 2000. Based on population, employment, and the number of arterial miles, the grants are evenly divided among regional and countywide groups, Woodinville belonging to the East group, which has $5.7 million available based on those characteristics.
The project could run $6.5 million for the easy off-ramp not going under the overpass, but if the grants come in, Metro chips in $40,000 towards bus access; the City of Woodinville's share would be $125,000. If the other alternative is pursued, the cost could jump to $11.5 million to $15.5 million.
The "slip-ramp" was included conceptually in the City of Woodinville's Comprehensive Plan to provide additional access to the downtown area and reduce congestion. Traffic volumes in the plan show 19,100 vehicles per day using the ramp in 2010.