I-90 Undercrossing clears legal hurdle, funding still needed

December 15, 2008

By Jon Savelle

If no further legal challenges pop up, the city’s long-planned new street under Interstate 90 can proceed to construction in 2009, assuming funding can be found for the $13 million project.

The legal path was cleared after a hearing examiner denied the second of two appeals by developer Johnson Underwood Properties, which had questioned the traffic data upon which the city’s plans were based. 

Johnson Underwood owns the land where the Fred Meyer and Home Depot stores stand on East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The company initially contended that traffic from the I-90 Undercrossing, which would pass under the freeway next to the post office and connect to Southeast 62nd Street, would cause excessive congestion at the intersection of that street and the parkway. 

The developers filed an appeal March 12 under the State Environmental Policy Act.

That appeal contended that the city’s traffic model was not properly calibrated, and Hearing Examiner Ted Hunter agreed. The city therefore revised its model somewhat. But Johnson Underwood appealed again.

This time, Hunter sided with the city, saying its traffic modeling was correct. That, in turn, means the State Environmental Policy Act determination is finished and the project can go forward. 

City Attorney Wayne Tanaka said Johnson Underwood could appeal again, but that would not stop the project unless it obtains an injunction. The developer and its attorney could not be reached. 

The undercrossing project is listed in the city’s 2009-2014 Capital Improvement Plan, but no funding source has been found. Efforts to secure grants are ongoing.

Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or jsavelle@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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