On Friday as the extended Washington legislative session came to a close, Governor Inslee signed a new transportation package that includes $426 million over 10 years to fully fund the completion of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.
“Broad support for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project has again won support from the legislature. With significant benefits to safety of drivers and wildlife, the project now has the funding for the full 15 miles,” said Charlie Raines, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition director. “This includes multiple underpasses for animals, and an additional overpass for wildlife across Easton Ridge connecting heavily use habitat . Our coalition looks forward to working with WSDOT to complete this unique transportation facility.”
The I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, stretching 15-miles from Hyak to Easton, is divided into several phases for construction. In 2009, construction began on the first 5 miles (Phase 1) that included two wildlife underpasses at Gold Creek and one at Rocky Run. With cost savings from this first phase, a contract was signed this spring to kick-off construction on a 2.5 mile continuation (Phase 2A) that includes the first wildlife overpass. Both of these phases will be complete by fall 2019.
“The new transportation plan is exciting news for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project. We will now be able to continue improvements along I-90 all the way to Easton. These improvements include rebuilding I-90 to six lanes, addressing safety and wildlife connectivity along this critical freight and recreational corridor,” said Brian White of Washington Department of Transportation.
This summer, thousands of travelers will drive Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass through the project area crossing safely over the wildlife bridges near Keechelus Lake from Phase 1 while animals go under. Now, we can also celebrate that our state legislators and Governor Inslee have invested in completing all phases of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project from Hyak to Easton addressing our state’s most important east-west transportation corridor and one of our region’s most important north-south wildlife corridors. We want to thank the legislators and Governor Inslee, who made this a priority for our state.
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