Thursday, November 19, 2020

New timeline for the I-90/SR 18 interchange improvement project

By Bart Treece

For people who live and work in the city of Snoqualmie, the project to replace the Interstate 90/State Route 18 interchange is something to look forward to due to the chronic backups and delays during busy daytime commutes.

In the past few years, we worked with local leaders, tribes, partner agencies, and community members to develop a diverging diamond interchange as the design concept for construction. This year, we had planned to advertise this project for a contractor to complete design work and then begin construction. However, this will be moved to August 2021 at the earliest.
A look at the improvements planned for the I-90/SR 18 interchange in the Snoqualmie area.

We know there's a lot of interest in seeing this work continue but given new challenges that have surfaced, we need to adjust our timeline for moving forward. Much of these issues stem from the changing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revenue shortfall due to the pandemic
There is a significant revenue shortfall to the department due to reduced travel and gas tax stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the reduction in revenue, we took proactive steps earlier this year by implementing furloughs, and a freeze for new employee hiring and consultant agreements. This has affected the I-90/SR 18 interchange project as we were unable to bring staff onboard to assist us in completing specialized tasks for environmental permitting and documentation.
A project to help relieve backups and congestion at the I-90/SR 18 interchange is planned though it won't start until Aug. 2021 at the earliest.

We are committed to the successful delivery of the interchange improvement. Our best approach to do this is to allocate resources as they become available.