Legislature invests to complete the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project
Conservation Northwest / Jul 15, 2015 / Connecting Habitat, I-90 Wildlife, Wildlife Crossings
New transportation bill fully funds I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project
By Jen Watkins, Conservation Associate and I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition Coordinator
Last week as the extended Washington state legislative session came to a close, Governor Jay Inslee signed a new transportation package that includes $426 million over ten years to fully fund the completion of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.
Learn more about Conservation Northwest’s I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign
The I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, stretching 15-miles from Hyak to Easton, is divided into several phases for construction. In 2009, construction began on the first five miles (Phase 1 of WSDOT’s project) that included two wildlife underpasses at Gold Creek and one at Rocky Run that fish and wildlife are already benefiting from.
With cost savings from this first phase, a contract was signed this spring to kick-off construction on a 2.5 mile continuation (Phase 2A) that includes the first wildlife overpass, the Price/Noble Wildlife Overcrossing. Both of these phases will be complete by fall 2019.
“The new transportation plan is exciting news for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project. We will now be able to continue improvements along I-90 all the way to Easton. These improvements include rebuilding I-90 to six lanes, addressing safety and wildlife connectivity along this critical freight and recreational corridor,” said Brian White of Washington Department of Transportation.
This summer, thousands of travelers will drive Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass through the project area crossing safely over the wildlife underpasses from Phase 1. Now we can also celebrate that our state legislators and Governor Inslee have invested in completing all phases of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project from Hyak to Easton, addressing our state’s most important east-west transportation corridor and one of our region’s most important north-south wildlife corridors.
We want to thank the legislators and Governor Inslee, who made this a priority for our state.
“Broad support for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project has again won support from the legislature. With significant benefits to safety of drivers and wildlife, the project now has the funding for the full 15 miles,” said Charlie Raines, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition director.
“This includes multiple underpasses for animals, and an additional overpass for wildlife across Easton Ridge connecting heavily used habitat. Our coalition looks forward to working with WSDOT to complete this unique transportation facility.”