Port of Tacoma Commission to consider Heavy Haul Corridor extension, Hylebos Waterway cleanup

The Port of Tacoma Commission is expected to meet this week to consider permanently extending the Heavy Haul Corridor along State Route 509.

The Tacoma Tideflats transportation corridor was established eight years ago when Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill authorizing the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to enter into agreements with port districts and adjacent jurisdictions to identify, manage and maintain short heavy haul industrial corridors for the movement of overweight, sealed containers used in international trade, according to a report prepared by Port of Tacoma staff.

Later that year, the Port of Tacoma, the City of Tacoma, and WSDOT partnered to establish the “Heavy Haul Corridor” along State Route 509 between milepost 0.25 (in the vicinity of East D Street) and milepost 3.88 (in the vicinity of Taylor Way). Trucks using the corridor must apply and pay a $100 monthly fee or a $1,000 annual fee to the state to use this state highway heavy haul corridor.

Last year, Schnitzer Steel asked WSDOT to temporarily extend the corridor to milepost 5.7 (vicinity of Norpoint Way NE) in order to include their facility, according to a report prepared by Port of Tacoma staff. The request required State legislative approval and language was added to the supplemental transportation budget, which passed in March 2012. The extension was for the 2011-2013 fiscal biennium and required an amendment to the original 2005 agreement between WSDOT, the City of Tacoma, and the Port of Tacoma. In August 2012, the Port of Tacoma Commission approved the temporary extension, which expires at the end of this month. Earlier this year, Schnitzer Steel worked with WSDOT and successfully lobbied the House and Senate to make the extension permanent, according to a report prepared by Port of Tacoma staff. However, the Port of Tacoma, WSDOT, and the City of Tacoma must authorize the amendment.

Additionally, commissioners are expected this week to consider requests for continued environmental cleanup work on the Hylebos Waterway and a new 20-year operating agreement with Tacoma Rail.

The Port of Tacoma Commission is scheduled to discuss these items during its meeting on Thurs., June 20 at 12 p.m. at The Fabulich Center (Room 104), located at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. A copy of the agenda is available online here. Commission meetings are streamed live on the Web and archived for later viewing.