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North Bend City Council fully supports the I-90/SR 18 Interchange Project and wishes to expedite improvements. We understand the safety and mobility implications caused by traffic backups and know many of our citizens and people who are employed in North Bend are among those affected.
However, we do not support the state’s proposed relocation to mile marker 33.5 without adequate mitigation to protect our citizens against the adverse environmental impacts. These environmental impacts include noise, pollution, damage to our roads, and an increase in police and fire service calls.
Mayor Ken Hearing feels his city is being unfairly blamed for potential delays.
“I feel Washington State Patrol needs to shoulder some of the blame for potential delays as they won’t agree to close the current station without securing a new location,” Mayor Hearing said. “We are very supportive of these much-needed improvements to the interchange, however, I don’t agree that the two projects need to be dependent on each other. The proposed relocation of the current westbound weigh station is for an eastbound station. Our concern is that truckers will use our local roads to circumvent the station and cause congestion and damage to North Bend Way.”
The initial designs include up to 70 parking stalls, making the weigh station a truck stop versus an actual weigh station. We countered with a proposal of 15 stalls if it were to be relocated to North Bend. We believe this to be a reasonable number of spaces to allow WSP to enforce trucker safety guidelines.
North Bend already hosts 180 parking spaces at the designated truck stop at exit 34. Furthermore, the city had already passed an ordinance banning new truck stops or an expansion of truck town.
We are concerned that trucks attempting to bypass the proposed station would use North Bend Way, causing congestion, safety hazard and damage to city streets. One truck does the equivalent damage to our roads as 10,000 single-occupant vehicle trips. For a city with less than 7,000 citizens, we simply cannot bear the ensuing costs. Truck stops produce very little revenue toward our transportation budget or street overlay program, so our citizens would end up bearing the burden of funding the trucking industry's damage to local streets.
Additionally, we must consider the noise and air pollution implications to school children playing outside at Camp Waskowitz, a Highline School District campus located adjacent to the proposed location. The state’s preferred location is also in close proximity to a drinking well for this school and wellhead protection zone; a nearby sensitive water well area.
“Council’s intention in drafting the Memorandum of Agreement was to express our opposition to the proposed weigh station design and the undue burden it would impart on our citizens,” said Councilmember Jonathan Rosen.
Our preferred location for the new weigh station is near Roslyn. Washington State Department of Transportation has said the location at mile marker 33.5 is the cheapest option, but City officials do not agree with cost analysis done at other possible locations and have documents to prove this location is the more expensive option.
“Our number one concern is the safety and quality of life of our citizens,” said Councilmember Alan Gothelf. “The City is amenable to negotiating with Washington State Patrol and WSDOT to come to an agreement that is reasonable and fair for our community.”