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"What price growth...?"

Lacey gets funds for highway project

Improved I-5 interchange at Marvin Road, more support roads planned

Karen Hucks; The News Tribune

Lacey got $1.8 million in state funds Friday and the promise of another $1.2 million that could help build an additional Interstate 5 offramp near Marvin Road.

Gov. Gary Locke signed the state supplemental transportation budget into law Friday, locking more funding into place for Lacey's Marvin Road interchange expansion.

The $21 million project - the largest public works activity the city ever has undertaken - will build a better interchange at Marvin Road and add support roads and traffic roundabouts north of I-5.

With the extra money from the state - $1.8 million in the current biennium and another $1.2 million likely in the 1999-2001 biennium - the city is hoping to add an eastbound offramp that will take some of the pressure off the new interchange.

The exit, including a roundabout, would cost $2.8 million.

To add the offramp, which would connect to Quinault Drive Northeast, the city needs approval from the state Transportation Improvement Board to change the scope of the project.

The 22-member board, appointed by the state secretary of transportation, awarded Lacey a $5.5 million grant last May for the interchange and a $2 million grant for a new road called Britton Parkway.

The city also would have to buy vacant land from five property owners.

Building the additional offramp, west of Marvin Road, would extend the life of the first phase of the project by eight years, City Manager Greg Cuoio said.

Making the roads last is vital to the city's future because growth of the Northeast Hawks Prairie area depends on the roads being drivable.

Development in the region halted in 1995 when the road stopped meeting state standards under the Growth Management Act.

And it was not so long ago that the city was worried that none of the funding for the project would come through.

In February 1997, Cuoio told disappointed City Council members the funding was in trouble.

But now, city officials suddenly are in the position of being able to add to the project.

"This has been the most complex project Lacey has ever undertaken, and we've put a phenomenal amount of effort into making it a reality," Cuoio said. "The stars and the moon and the sun have aligned recently, and a complex project is coming together.

"And we're thrilled."

The $8.14 million interchange is being paid for with the Transportation Improvement Board grant and money from the city.

Three road improvements to support the interchange - Britton Parkway, an extension of that road called Willamette Drive, and the widening of Marvin Road north of I-5 - are being financed through a $10.65 million local improvement district and a $2 million grant for Britton Parkway.

That project includes the city's first two roundabouts - circular intersections without signals designed to keep traffic moving - at Marvin Road and Britton Parkway and another on Marvin Road between Britton Parkway and the interchange.

Construction on the Marvin Road interchange is scheduled to begin by October, and all the projects should be completed by mid-2000.

Lacey is hoping to add another north-south road called West Mall Drive - west of Hawks Prairie Mall - south of I-5. Property owners probably would pay for that road, Cuoio said.

  • Staff writer Karen Hucks covers Thurston County. Reach her at 1-800-388-8742, Ext. 8660, or by e-mail at kxh@p.tribnet.com

    The News Tribune

    April 04, 1998

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