City asks for input about truck routes

September 14, 2010

By Staff

City planners could redraw the routes large trucks use to travel through Issaquah.

Before the city takes action, officials encourage residents to offer feedback on proposals. The city has received feedback from residents concerned about truck noise, air pollution and the number of trucks along East Sunset Way. The soon-to-be-completed East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 has also raised concerns about increased truck traffic, after crews finish the upgraded roadway.

The truck route for the street starts at the I-90 interchange, and then progresses along Newport Way Southwest to Front Street South and the southern city line.

The route and state Route 900 remain the only approved north-south routes in Issaquah.

In late spring, state Department of Transportation crews completed the yearslong effort to widen state Route 900. The road can better accommodate larger trucks.

City planners want to know if the improvements justify closing the East Sunset Way truck route.

Send comments to city Transportation Planner Gary Costa at 1775 12th Ave. N.W., Issaquah, WA 98027 or e-mail them to garyc@ci.issaquah.wa.us.

Comments sent to Costa and received at the open house will be shared with the Council Transportation Committee on Sept. 30, before officials make any decision.

The open house comes as state crews near completion of the $1.3-million project to widen the Sunset Way approach to the interstate.

Plans call for wider lanes bracketed by concrete barriers bordered by shoulders, curbs and a sidewalk. Workers also built a permanent support to replace a temporary retaining wall fashioned from dirt and high-density fabric.

The project adds the final piece to the I-90 interchange. The rest of the project was completed in 2003.

Get involved

City truck route open house

  • 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 23
  • Eagle Room at City Hall
  • 130 E. Sunset Way.
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Comments

One Response to “City asks for input about truck routes”

  1. Laurence Lance on September 22nd, 2010 10:23 am

    The Issaquah Press, Sept 14 writes the following article:

    “City asks for input about truck routes”

    The City planners propose to close East Sunset Way to trucks and re route all truck traffic onto Highway 900. This is not a good idea.

    the article, in part, reads:

    “In late spring, state Department of Transportation crews completed the years long effort to widen state Rout 900. The road can better accommodate larger trucks.

    It appears the city plan is to route trucks around Issaquah, then south towards Renton via highway 900.

    For those of us who live on or travel Hwy 900 this decision is problematic. There are multiple flaws in the logic of diverting truck traffic from East Sunset to Hwy 900.

    1. Traffic flow and Safety

    The assertion that Hwy 900 can “better accommodate larger trucks” is false.

    Except for the short piece north of the Talus development that was widened, Highway #900 in the Issaquah area is a dangerous narrow, winding, two lane road with no road shoulder in many parts, many blind curves and limited sight areas, steep drop offs, rock walls, and deep ditches.

    The “effort to widen SR 900″ is limited to the part between Newport Road and Talus Road. South of Talus road, the hwy becomes one lane in each direction and is subject to tight curves and multiple sections of limited vision. Drivers are also blinded in the afternoon by the sun at certain times of the year. In the two years we have lived along this road, we know of at least two head on collisions in which people were seriously injured or even possibly died near our neighborhood at SE 95th ST.

    There are two parts to the safety issues

    A. Existing traffic loads

    Heavy traffic loads are common during morning and afternoon/evening rush hours. Re routing heavy trucks will only increase an already heavy traffic load on hw #900. Many Issaquah residents use Hwy 900 and will be endangered by additional truck traffic.

    B. Excessive speeds

    Highway #900 has a 40 MPH speed limit – a speed limit that almost no one abides by, and one that is not enforced.

    Between mile post 17 and mile post 21, I have been regularly passed by vehicles traveling at over 80 mph and some at over 100 mph.

    In a conversation with Office Roarback ( sp) of the Issaquah Police Dept I learned of a motorcycle group that in the past has used the curves and straightaways of highway 900 as their private racing course. Living some 130 yards off the highway I often hear motorcycles at high rpms and traveling at obviously high speed.

    Part of the problem is jurisdiction. Outside the city limits the jurisdiction, so I’m told by the King County officers I have spoken with, falls upon the Washington State Patrol (WSP). The WSP officers I have spoken with are frustrated, but there is a manpower issue so allocating them to traffic enforcement on highway 900 is not likely to happen.

    A significant number of drivers on highway 900 exercise poor judgement. A vehicle traveling at 80 to 120 mph and slamming into an oncoming car or truck isn’t going to leave much chance for survival for anyone involved. Adding additional traffic, in form of heavy trucks, to SR 900 is a recipe for disaster.

    3. Noise and Nuisance from Truck Traffic

    Hwy 900 already has a large number of heavy trucks using this route because it is a main route from Renton to I-90 and a number of soil, fill, rock, and construction debris operations are located along this road. However, a number of residential properties are also located along this highway and are subject to the truck traffic, noise, and debris dropped on the road. Our neighborhood (Brookridge) at SE 95th ST is located just down from the top of the elevation gain along Hwy 900. As a result, many trucks use compression braking in front of our neighborhood, adding considerable noise at all hours. There is a sign stating that compression braking is prohibited further north on Hwy 900, but trucks are already using the compression braking by the time they blow by this sign. Adding more heavy trucks will only make the noise and nuisance issue worse.

    4. Air Quality

    Hwy 900 winds through a canyon between Squak and Cougar Mountain. Adding more truck traffic will further degrade the air quality for those of us living in this narrow canyon where air pollution from traffic collects.

    5. City Changes Impact a State Highway

    Issaquah has no traffic enforcement ability beyond city limits. It cannot regulate speed limits on a state highway, and it hasn’t the manpower or budget to enforce speed and safety even on the portion of Hwy 900 that falls within Issaquah city limits.

    Conclusion

    While the proposed changes in traffic may benefit a small number on East Sunset Way, the negative impact on those of live and travel highway 900 outweighs such benefits.
    Laurence Lance

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