Sammamish City Council approves transportation plan

June 24, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: June 24, 1:54 p.m.

The Sammamish City Council unanimously approved its six-year Transportation Improvement Program June 17.
The plan lays out a timetable and estimated costs for roads and non-motorized transportation work over the next few years. If everything on it was built as scheduled, it would cost the city about $50.3 million. The plan itself does not mean the city is obligated to build on that timeline, however. Each project must still be approved as part of the budgeting process.
In particular, projects in the later years of the plan typically end up delayed until funding is available, but by placing them on the list, they become eligible for grant funding, which sometimes accelerates the timetable for a given project.
The total dollar amount, however, likely underestimates costs by a large margin. The city has committed to improving Issaquah-Fall City Road if and when Sammamish annexes the Klahanie area. The improvement plan lists the project, but doesn’t attach a price tag. City officials have been reluctant to give an estimate for road repairs, noting that studies of the road are outdated and form an unreliable basis for any estimates, but the fix is likely to run into tens of millions of dollars.
Big-ticket items on the list for next year – projects most likely to be constructed, although they still must be approved through the budget process – include $1.4 million to start widening Southeast Fourth Street between 218th Avenue Southeast and 228th Avenue Southeast. The project would be part of the Town Center area. The plan calls for spending a total of $17.9 million on the work over the next three years.
The city also expects to spend $1.1 million on work to Sahalee Way between 220th Avenue Northeast and the city limits. The project would widen the road, and has an estimated $15.7 million price tag over four years.
Councilwoman Nancy Whitten wanted the city to reprioritize a plan to improve Issaquah-Pine Lake Road between Klahanie Boulevard and Southeast 32nd Street. The project is on the improvement plan with an estimated cost of $16.5 million. However, it has no start date assigned, and Whitten hoped it would begin sooner.
Whitten noted that the road needs to be fixed, even if the city does not end up annexing Klahanie.
City Manager Ben Yazici agreed the road needs work, but said the city does not have funds to complete the project.

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