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On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, elected officials, city leaders and public safety representatives from the Snoqualmie Valley and Issaquah gathered at Snoqualmie City Hall for a roundtable discussion to reflect on the multi-year, collaborative effort that secured $640 million in state and federal funding to widen a dangerous stretch of SR 18 between Issaquah-Hobart Road and I-90.
The recently passed $17 billion Move Ahead Washington state transportation package included $640 million that will widen SR 18 from two lanes to four lanes over Tiger Mountain between Deep Creek and Issaquah-Hobart Road. The state transportation package included $3.73 billion in federal funding, which was earmarked for specific projects including SR 18 widening at the request of 8th District U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier.
Mayor Katherine Ross opened the roundtable discussion saying, “To know this final funding piece of the puzzle has been solved is a major collaborative accomplishment and is a testament to the phrase It Takes a Village. This transportation funding milestone will benefit our Snoqualmie Valley residents and workforce, the movement of regional freight and improve the safety of every driver that uses SR 18 and the first responders who serve us.”
Joining Mayor Ross at the roundtable were 8th District U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, Washington State 5th District Rep. Bill Ramos, Former Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland, Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly, Snoqualmie Councilmember Rob Wotton, Snoqualmie City Administrator Mike Sauerwein, SVSD Superintendent Lance Gibbons, Eastside Fire & Rescue Asst. Chief Ben Lane, Snoqualmie Fire Chief Mark Correira, Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps, and SnoValley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelly Coughlin.
Rep. Schrier was a vocal advocate for the SR 18 project at the federal level and organized Wednesday’s roundtable to provide an opportunity for those involved in securing project funding to celebrate the milestone that will benefit the entire region.
Mayor McFarland commended Reps. Schrier and Ramos for their work in securing funds for this portion of the project. Acknowledging the need to continue advocating for funding to review additional dangerous points of congestion on the eastside, he said “This stretch of highway is a major rural bottleneck, and transit is an essential necessity. How do we continue to attack and remove them?”
Securing funding to modernize SR 18 and improve driver safety has been a top legislative priority at the City, State, Tribal and Federal level for many years, as well as a top priority for the SnoValley Chamber of Commerce and the Snoqualmie Casino.
The 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package is funding the ongoing I-90/SR 18 Interchange Improvement Project that will redesign the busy area into a Diverging Diamond Interchange and widen SR 18 from I-90 to Deep Creek. That project is expected to break ground this year. When it is complete, work is anticipated to begin on widening SR 18 between Deep Creek and Issaquah-Hobart Road.
This dangerous stretch of SR 18 has been the location of multiple serious injury and fatal collisions over the past few decades, including seven fatalities during a 10-month time period between December 2017 and October 2018.