City, Costco may study road improvements

March 9, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

The city and the largest employer in Issaquah could someday team up to improve road access to Costco headquarters.

Officials could take the initial step March 15, when the City Council stands to authorize $63,736 for a feasibility study to determine if the road project could work. Costco agreed to fund half — or $31,868 — of the study. The study should take about four months to complete.

Costco employs 2,500 people at a Lake Drive campus north of Interstate 90 and other buildings around Issaquah.

“Costco corporate has been working with the administration over the past few months to look at the transportation network on the north side of I-90 — their corporate headquarters is over here, and there’s a lot of congestion over here — and they’re concerned for economic vitality over the long haul for the whole area,” city Public Works Engineering Deputy Director Sheldon Lynne said. “There is an interest in looking at what improvements would need to happen to improve the traffic flow on the north side.”

Costco executives approached city officials with the proposal several months ago. If the project advances after consultants complete the study, Costco and other property owners in the affected area — known as a local improvement district — would shoulder the costs for improvements.

The legislation headed to the council would authorize Transportation Solutions, Inc. — a Redmond consultant — to complete the feasibility study. From there, the city and Costco could form the local improvement district. The city also owns land in the affected area.

“If it’s viable and the city agrees along with Costco to move it forward, then there will be another phase that will bring us to the actual formation,” Lynne added.

If the city and landowners someday decide to form a local improvement district, the city would be reimbursed for prior costs associated with the project.

Early plans call for a new bridge across Issaquah creek between 10th Avenue Northwest and 221st Place Southeast, as well as street improvements near Costco headquarters and the flagship store.

The city and Costco also eyed road improvements at the intersection of 17th Avenue Northwest, 12th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Sammamish Road — a busy crossroads bordered by Holiday Inn, Tully’s Coffee and ARCO. Other upgrades could be made along 221st Place Southeast, Southeast 62nd Street and East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

Council Transportation Committee members discussed the proposal March 4, and forwarded the measure to the full council for consideration.

“It’s a long time coming,” Councilman Fred Butler, a Transportation Committee member, said during the meeting. “This is actually pretty exciting.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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