The Interstate 90/State Route 18 interchange is one of the busiest in the state. The interchange serves people who live in the area, in addition to freight haulers and cross state travelers. Backups near the interchange are common during peak periods and busy travel weekends.
To remedy this problem, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) launched the I-90/SR 18 Interchange Improvement Project and initiated design work in 2017.
Completion of this project was scheduled for 2023 but is now delayed to 2024 due to issues related to workforce availability. Mike Cotten, WSDOT Regional Administrator, wrote in an email to the project Executive Advisory Group, “I know that communities are heavily invested in seeing this project to completion and it’s understandable this is disappointing news.”
According to Mr. Cotton, “There is a significant revenue shortfall to the department due to reduced travel and gas tax stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the reduction in revenue, WSDOT took proactive steps earlier this year by implementing furloughs, and a freeze for new employee hiring and consultant agreements. This has affected the I-90/SR 18 interchange project as WSDOT was unable to bring staff onboard to assist in completing specialized tasks for environmental permitting and documentation.”
Mayor Matt Larson stated, “While this news is disappointing, we are relieved to have successfully completed the temporary westbound onramp this summer. This investment becomes all the more valuable given this delay.”
The investment for the dedicated on-ramp project was approximately $1.2 million, divided by a 50/50 match between WSDOT and the City of Snoqualmie with contributions from the Snoqualmie Tribe and the cities of Covington and Maple Valley.
More information about the I-90/SR 18 Interchange Improvement Project is available on the WSDOT website.
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City of Snoqualmie