The new Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan approved by the Sammamish City Council Tuesday boosts projects costs to $165.36m.
This figure includes the cost of the projects that start within the six-year TIP period but continue beyond into a date not specified.
Costs for the Issaquah-Fall City Road widening along the greater Klahanie area goes to $44.8m from an estimated $23m in the months leading up to the annexation vote to Sammamish in April 2014.
Last March, only three months ago, the cost was pegged at $36m.
The six-year portion of the TIP is slightly less than the 2015 TIP due to the completion of three projects this year.
Under State law, roads are required to support development. A “concurrency” test must be passed as one of many steps to approve development. If the test fails (meaning the roads are inadequate to handle the additional growth from development), the project cannot go forward.
The law recognizes that it is possible to improve roads to pass concurrency testing. Concurrency under State law provides a six-year period to complete the improvements or (and this is important) that there be a plan in place to undertake improvements.
Improvements might be as little as adding a traffic control device at an intersection or adding turn lanes at key points to major projects, such as widening roads, adding bike lanes and sidewalks and other improvements.
Since major road projects, such as widening long stretches of road, acquiring land, going through public hearings and potential appeals, can take longer than six years, completion isn’t required in six years.
The alternative is to have a “plan” to do the project. Listing a project in the Six Year TIP suffices to be called a “plan.” But the project doesn’t have to be done, or even started.
Widening Issaquah-Pine Lake Road from the Issaquah City Limits to Klahanie Blvd. has been in Sammamish’s Six Year TIP since 2006. Widening is only beginning concurrent with development of the Conner-Jarvis development along this stretch of road.
Conner-Jarvis will construct about 60% of the project, said Steve Leniszewski, the City’s public works director, told Sammamish Comment in an interview yesterday.
The TIP is required to be updated every year by July 1, with submittal to the State.
Sammamish road projects have been neglected for 10 years, City Council Member Tom Odell said on several occasions.
The neglect appears to be catching up with the City. The new TIP, which by State law covers the next six years, largely for concurrency purposes, also includes plans and costs beyond the mandate six-year period.
The TIP adopted Tuesday includes five concurrency projects, but only three of the five are funded within the timeframe. The other two fall outside the six years.
These are included, however, so these concurrency projects—Issaquah Pine Lake Road widening from the Issaquah City Limits to Klahanie Blvd. and the intersection of SE 24th Way and East Lake Sammamish Parkway—can be claimed as qualifying under State law for approving traffic concurrency testing.
The TIP with details of the five concurrency projects and several others that are not concurrency related may be downloaded here:
Leniszewski, the public works director, said projects are also listed on the TIP to file grant applications.
Not living up to the spirit of concurrency
Council Member Tom Hornish objects to projects being listed on the TIP for concurrency that aren’t funded.
“This isn’t living to the spirit of the Growth Management Act,” he told The Comment yesterday. “The TIP impacts concurrency. If you fix concurrency, then OK. But if it’s on the TIP and it’s not funded, it’s not a feasible plan.”
Hornish points to the Issaquah-Pine Lake Road’s inclusion on the TIP since 2006, with no work being done until the Conner-Jarvis project.
“Is there any development between 2006 and 2017 that relied on concurrency on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road?” he asks.
Hornish says he will press the point at the July 10 special meeting on transportation.
The Council has a finance retreat today beginning at 2pm at City Hall.
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