On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee signed the transportation funding bill passed by the Washington State Legislature (SB 5024) that included funding for the first wildlife overpass in the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project in 2015. This transportation bill simply allocates existing transportation dollars to projects throughout the state, and was an opportunity for the state legislature to allocate the savings accrued in construction of the first phase of the I-90 project to future phases. The legislature took that opportunity to ensure the I-90 project keeps moving forward, and the Governor maintained the funding in the final bill.
The transportation bill maintains the funding already dedicated to completion of the first 5 mile phase of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project that is underway now, while dedicating the savings from this construction to planning and design for a second phase this biennium. Then, they allocated funding in the 2015-2017 biennium to ensure that construction of the second phase begins right away. This second phase includes the Price-Noble wildlife overpass, as well as important freight and traffic improvements.
“It is exciting to know that construction on the second phase of this important project including the wildlife overpass will begin in less than two years,” said Jen Watkins of the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition. “We appreciate the continued dedication the legislature has shown to this project that improves safety and travel efficiency for motorist and freight moving east-west on I-90 and wildlife moving north-south in the Cascades.”
High school students contributed their ideas towards the design of the wildlife overpass through our Bridging Futures scholarship contest this year, submitting everything from 3D models to computer designs. Judges are reviewing the Top 5 entries now, and a winner will be announced in early June.
SB 5024 (signed by Governor with partial veto)