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December 9, 2019 | 12:57pm
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State is Considering Funding Thornton Overpass

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washington state capital buildingThe Washington State Senate Transportation Committee has a couple Ferndale area transportation projects in the budget being considered during the current legislative session.

The proposed $15 billion transportation budget is accompanied by a proposal for a 11.7 cent per gallon gas tax increase.

Ferndale area projects still in the proposed budget are:

    • $21 million for the Thornton Street Overpass
    • $40 million for Smith Road improvements

 

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It is possible that some projects in the proposed budget will get dropped in order to create an acceptable final budget. In the same respect, the gas tax being proposed remains up for debate.

The Thornton Street overpass has been a long sought after remedy for handling the increase in traffic to and from I-5 as Ferndale continues to grow northward. Thornton is a primary arterial well-positioned to handle this traffic. But its access to I-5 is blocked by the railroad tracks. Building an overpass over the railroad tracks to take traffic to the Portal Way and 2nd Avenue traffic circle has been deemed a desirable solution but funding has been evasive.

Smith Road improvements are less clear by description but are likely related to a long-standing interest by the Department of Transportation to provide relatively straight access to I-5 for truck traffic going to and from the border crossings. Currently they have to navigate the difficult on and off ramps at Main Street and at Meridian. It has been proposed for some time to build an interchange at Smith Road and I-5. Perhaps that along with related improvements to Smith Road are encompassed in this project proposal.

The debates are still going on in the Legislature but we will see soon enough if these projects survive.

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