Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has announced the approval of a $5.7 million grant for the City of Lakewood to improve the Freedom Bridge overpass near the Madigan Army Medical Center Gate to alleviate congestion and improve public safety along the Berkeley street corridor.
Improvements will include an additional eastbound ramp to the bridge, a second left turn lane to the I-5 southbound off-ramp, upgrades to traffic signs and additional pedestrian facilities for increased public safety.
Funding for the project is provided under the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 and will be completed as a joint effort between the State of Washington Department of Transportation, the City of Lakewood and the Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
"Knowing that the DOD recognizes how critical investments are to addressing these issues affirms its commitment to this community and to the people affected by the immense growth on and around the base," said Congressman Smith. "I'm proud to have been a part of the efforts to secure this funding and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure proper coordination so the improvements can be completed within a timely manner. Making sure we have the infrastructure in place to improve access and ease congestion around Madigan Gate and I-5 continues to be at the top of our agenda."
"These necessary improvements will benefit everyone because they will increase safety and help alleviate congestion," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, a co-chair of the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP). "This is another success for the Partnership's collaboration of communities with the Department of Defense to serve our service members, veterans and neighbors. I look forward to working with the City of Lakewood and the Washington State Department of Transportation to get these critical projects moving."
"The residents of the South Sound are very pleased the DoD and OEA have provided $5.7M in critical access and improved traffic flow project funding along the I-5 Corridor," said Mayor Doug Richardson. "WSDOT and the City of Lakewood worked together as members of the SSMCP to apply for these vital infrastructure dollars and they will provide substantial steps forward in addressing congestion and safety in the South Sound region.
Earlier this year, South Sound stakeholders were successful in securing nearly $7 million in the Washington State budget for Interchange Justifications Reports (IJR) to examine potential impacts from Marvin Road in Thurston County to SR 512 in Pierce County. Without these studies, securing federal funds for this project would not have been possible.