August 1, 2023, COVINGTON, Wash. –- The South East Area Legislative Transportation Coalition (SEAL-TC) wants to thank the Washington State House and Senate Transportation Committees for maintaining the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) preferred timeline for improvements to State Route 18. SEAL-TC is comprised of regional cities, chambers of commerce, and fire and rescue services in the 5th and 47th legislative districts, and they are grateful to the House and Senate Transportation Committees for moving this project along as proposed.
The coalition was formed in fall 2016 to bring awareness to the transportation, commerce and safety challenges posed by SR18 and the importance of widening this key thoroughfare to save lives, facilitate commerce, and provide a safe route for employers and employees between South King County and the Eastside. Construction funding for the project was approved in 2022, and it is slated to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2029.
At the beginning of the 2023 legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a new timeline for the project, which would have delayed project completion to 2033. Members of SEAL-TC, including local elected officials, chamber executives and first responders, testified on behalf of the coalition and reached out individually to the House and Senate Transportation Committees to stress the importance of keeping the preferred timeline for the project. The coalition is pleased that legislators on the Transportation Committees heard them and made their decision accordingly.
“It is way past time to complete this critical transportation link,” said Mayor Mary Lou Pauly of Issaquah. “A widened, divided, lit highway, that accommodates both commerce and commuters in the safest way possible, is critical to improving the quality of life for so many.”
“Eastside Fire & Rescue continues to support advancing this vital infrastructure improvement project. Enhancing the safety of residents, commuters, and first responders is EF&R's top priority. The Highway 18 improvement project is critical to improving emergency response capabilities along the route,” said Ben Lane, Fire Chief, Eastside Fire & Rescue.
“We want to express our deepest gratitude to our legislators for the funding allocation and support for the preferred timeline for the SR18 improvement project. This project is vital to our business community, and it demonstrates a true commitment to safety, sustainability, and economic growth. We are thrilled to see this commitment become a reality, and we look forward to the many benefits it will bring to our region,” Kelly Coughlin, Executive Director, SnoValley Chamber.
The coalition’s next steps include working with WSDOT to get regular project updates and remain alert to any possible changes or delays to the project timeline and budget. For more information about the SR18 project, click here: https://wsdot.wa.gov/construction-planning/search-projects/sr-18-issaquah-hobart-rd-deep-creek-widening.
SEAL-TC is made up of representatives from the following municipalities, organizations and agencies:
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P. O. Box 8041, Covington, Washington 98042
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