WSDOT wants public input on transportation improvement projects

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has released the final draft of the 2014-2017 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which details future transportation improvement projects in store for communities across the state.

WSDOT is now accepting public comments on the draft STIP, which includes more than 1,000 transportation improvement projects across the state. WSDOT developed the list of projects in coordination with the metropolitan and regional transportation planning organizations in an effort to ensure that the projects are consistent with local, regional and state plans. The 2014-17 STIP includes improvement projects utilizing $1.8 billion in federal funds. Projects include pavement overlays, roadway widening, bridge replacement or repair, signal systems, safety enhancements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and transit facilities.

According to WSDOT, the following Tacoma and Pierce County projects are included in the final draft of the 2014-2017 STIP:

  • Port of Tacoma Interchange Improvements — This project is the first phase of a three-phase project that will improve freight mobility, increase safety, relieve congestion, and enhance business access by revising an essential element of the freight and truck operations of the City of Fife and the Port of Tacoma (Port). Phase I will consist of purchasing necessary right-of-way and constructing a new southbound off-ramp from Interstate 5 to improve intersection spacing and reduce congestion in the surrounding area, and a truck route north and west along 34th Avenue and 12th Street to Port of Tacoma Road;
  • Cushman Trail Phases 3 (96th to Burnham) and 4 (Burnham to Borgen) — Construct the final mile of a six-mile non-motorized regionally significant trail through Gig Harbor generally along the alignment of existing Tacoma Public Utility right-of-way. Phase 3 begins where the trail currently ends at 96th Street and continues north for approximately one-third of a mile, to Burnham Drive. Phase 4 begins at Burnham Drive and continues north for approximately two-thirds of a mile, connecting to a trailhead at Borgen Boulevard. Restrooms and public parking will also be provided. When completed, trail users will be able to traverse the north-south City limits and access businesses, shopping, transit facilities, libraries, parks, residential neighborhoods and the new regional hospital;
  • South Tacoma Way / State Route 512 to 96th Street South Roadway Improvements — South Tacoma Way is a primary north-south route that directly parallels Interstate 5 and connects two park and ride facilities, namely the Interstate 5 / State Route 512 park and ride and the Lakewood Station serving Sounder train service. This project adds curb and gutter, sidewalk, bike lanes, street lights and overlays and re-stripes the roadway. These improvements complete a gap in the system, and will create a coherent principal arterial system that parallels Interstate 5;
  • Countywide and Interstate 5 Corridor Transportation Demand Management Project — The project objective is to encourage the use of alternative modes of travel other than driving alone. The project will provide support services such as emergency ride home, promotions, marketing, incentives, Web site and calendar maintenance and upgrades, and other related programs. The project will also develop a Joint Base Lewis-McChord TDM Strategic Implementation Plan and begin implementation of identified strategies; explore which CTR/TDM strategies would best influence the travel behavior in the communities served by the Interstate 5 corridor; and develop and implement programs to decrease drive-alone trips to the University of Washington-Tacoma;
  • Beyond the Borders The Beyond the Borders transportation service was developed for people with special transportation needs, living outside of the Pierce Transit service area, seeking access to employment, employment related activities and critical services within urbanized areas of Tacoma and the surrounding suburban locales. Beyond the Borders serves East and South Pierce County, an area covering over 538 square miles and 2,200 miles of roadway. Due to age, disability, or income over half of the residents of the county do not have access to transportation. Beyond the Borders also transports people from the edge of the urban area to suburban or rural areas, provides weekend and late night rides, and connects riders with Pierce Transit bus stops, where passengers can access fixed route buses or the ADA SHUTTLE as well as Sound Transit (for regional trips), King County Metro, or Intercity Transit (for trips to Olympia);
  • Reservation Junction Track & Signal Design and construction of additional track and new structures along an approximately 0.65-mile section of track between the existing Tacoma Dome Station and the vicinity of M Street in Tacoma;
  • Tacoma Link Expansion Project Expand Tacoma Link light rail. Work includes alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering, and environmental review for the extension of Tacoma Link light rail, non-motorized improvements to improve access to Tacoma Link, and bus improvements around Tacoma Link stations;
  • 72nd Street South / Hosmer at Interstate 5 ramp This project will construct a new right turn lane on South 72nd Street to access the on-ramp for northbound Interstate 5;
  • Citywide Safety Improvements Improve signalized intersections throughout the city. Improvements will include pavement markings, signage, and other safety improvements;
  • Downtown Streetscape Improvements — The downtown region bounded by South 7th Street to South 17th Street along Pacific Avenue will be revised by transitioning existing right-of-way for multimodal use, including new bike sharrows, widening sidewalks, street trees, and other amenities. The project also includes innovative stormwater solutions with self contained rain gardens to treat the drainage from Pacific Avenue;
  • Milwaukee Way from Lincoln Avenue to Marshall Avenue This project will improve Milwaukee Way with an asphalt overlay from Lincoln Avenue to Marshall Avenue or as far south as the grant funds will provide. The curb lanes will be ground out to maintain the existing gutter grades. ADA improvements will be installed where necessary;
  • Puyallup Bridge F16A and F16B Replacement — This project will replace two segments of the Puyallup River Bridge known as F16A and F16B. These two segments are 200 feet and 600 feet long, respectively. A portion of another connecting bridge known as F22 will also be replaced. The three bridge segments (F16A, F16B and F22) are all connected and currently provide three lanes of traffic. The new structure will provide four lanes of traffic;
  • Schuster Parkway Bridge Rehabilitation The work will include rehabilitating the deck, expansion joints, possible approach work and general bridge rehabilitation work;
  • Sheridan Elementary Safe Routes to Schools The project will install bulb outs, sidewalks, ADA ramps, on-site bicycle racks and may include curb and gutter, drainage, landscaping and other pedestrian and bicycle amenities. Infrastructure improvements will be enhanced by providing education to students, staff and parents and incentives and encouragement. The Tacoma Police Department will provide increased enforcement to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • South Tacoma Way Corridor Multimodal Improvement This project will provide an asphalt overlay of South Tacoma Way, add new transit stop pads, and new transit shelters at existing stops, replace hazardous sidewalk, add sidewalk where necessary, street-lighting, landscaping, mid-block pedestrian signal, reconstruct driveways and curb ramps for ADA compliance. The overlay will be from South 43rd Street to South 47th Street, and from South 56th Street to South 66th Street;
  • Thea Foss Harbor Esplanade / Site 11, Phase 2 This project will include an over water public esplanade located between 8th Street and 9th Street along Thea Foss Waterway. The esplanade project will provide lighting, street furniture, supporting utilities, and other amenities. This project may include gangways and floats for access to boat moorage. Utility adjustment or replacement may be required. This project will replace deteriorated existing public access along the shoreline;
  • Thea Foss Waterway / Site 10 Esplanade The Thea Foss Site 10 Esplanade project will continue construction of the public esplanade along the Foss Waterway. The concrete esplanade will be pile supported and will replace a deteriorated wooden boardwalk. The project will include a concrete walkway with lighting, benches, landscaping, and railing;
  • Union Avenue Viaduct Rehabilitation The work will include rehabilitating the deck, expansion joints, possible approach work and general bridge rehabilitation work;
  • Interstate 5: Portland Avenue to Port of Tacoma Road / Southbound HOV — This section of Interstate 5 is experiencing congestion during peak hours and is part of the Pierce County Core HOV program. This project replaces the existing southbound bridges over the Puyallup River and completes the Interstate 5 / State Route 167 interchange reconstruction and builds a southbound HOV lane from Portland Avenue to the Port of Tacoma Road interchange;
  • Interstate 5: Portland Avenue to Port of Tacoma Road / Northbound HOV — Part of the Pierce County Core HOV program, this project constructs new northbound Interstate 5 bridges across the Puyallup River; builds connections to the new bridge alignment; begins work to reconstruct Interstate 5 / State Route 167 interchange; replaces the Interstate 5 / Portland Avenue interchange; widens Interstate 5 and builds northbound HOV lanes;
  • State Route 16: Tacoma Narrows Bridge / Replace Maintenance Traveler — The maintenance traveler that runs the full length of the Tacoma Narrows bridge needs replacing. By replacing the maintenance traveler, the bridge maintenance crew can continue to inspect and maintain the bridge in a safe and efficient manner.

The STIP is a statewide, financially-constrained prioritized program of transportation-related projects for Washington. It covers four years, and must be consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, metropolitan transportation plans, and regional transportation improvement programs. The STIP is required for projects to be authorized for federal funding.

The 30-day public comment period is the final step in the process of adopting the STIP. Comments will be accepted on the plan between Mon., Nov. 18 and Tues., Dec. 17. Any comments received will be sent to the respective local planning organization for their consideration. Comments may be submitted by e-mailing or by regular mail to Nancy Huntley, P.O. Box 47390, Olympia, WA 98504-7390. They can also be submitted by fax at (360) 705-6822.

Click here to download a copy of the final draft of the 2014-2017 STIP. Additional information is available online here.