Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced his funding request to bring traffic relief to the Federal Way Area through improvements to interchanges for State Route 18 and State Route 99.

“The Federal Way area experiences enormous traffic congestion every day,” Smith said. “These projects would improve major routes in Federal Way and provide commuting families with some relief.”

The first project would address 11 Washington State Department of Transportation (WASDOT) designated High Accident Locations, and is the location of significant recurrent congestion, lasting up to 8 hours daily in some locations. This interchange is between two National Highway System facilities.  SR 18 provides an important link between the Port of Tacoma and eastern Washington and points east, and the importance of I-5 for freight traffic is evident by observing truck volumes at the weigh stations just south of the project vicinity. 

The second project would widen South 272nd Street between Pacific Highway South (SR-99) and Military Road to add one HOV lane in each direction, a left-turn lane at Star Lake Road, right-turn and left-turn lanes at the I-5 on-ramps, right-turn lanes at Military Road, curbs, gutters and sidewalks, illumination system and new signal systems at all intersections.  Existing embankments under the I-5 bridges will need to be excavated and retaining walls installed in order to accommodate the additional lanes under I-5.  This project will connect HOV lanes on Pacific Highway South (SR-99) with HOV lanes on I-5, and, it will connect three park and ride lots which have a total of 1300 parking spaces. Final design work is expected to start in January 2005.  Construction is proposed to begin in March 2006 and be completed by December 2006.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Organizations Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.