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State Route 167 design moving along, update meetings scheduled

// Fife Community Center open house set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1

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All those commuters, truck drivers, Pierce County residents and businesses out there wondering about the extension of State Route 167 from its current dead end in Puyallup to Port of Tacoma Road will have two opportunities early next month to learn the latest news.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will host two open houses in early March to detail the initial phase. The first of the two meetings will be held at 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at the Fife Community Center, 2111 54th Ave. E. Another open house will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 at the Puyallup Activity Center, 210 West Pioneer Ave.

WSDOT is in the process of updating environmental reports, buying land needed for the project and filing for permits and contracts. The state transportation department, for example, still has to buy about 30 percent of the land along the route. This remaining third of the land will cost about half of the $250 million estimated for the total land required.

Construction is set to being in July 2019 and will likely continue through 2031.

The planned SR 167 extension projected to cost $933 million and will be funded through the $16 billion Connecting Washington transportation package lawmakers approved last year. The road would start at the current junction of SR 167 and SR 161 (Meridian) to tie into Interstate 5, according to state reports. This project also includes the construction of a two-mile connection from I-5 to SR 509. These improvements will provide two lanes in each direction from Tacoma to Edgewood and Puyallup.

This roadway, meant to provide a more streamlined route between the warehouse hubs of the Puyallup and Kent valleys to the shipping terminals on the tideflats, has been in the works for decades. Planning for a complete SR 167 actually dates back to the early 1950s. The I-5 and Port of Tacoma Road interchange was constructed in the 1960s to allow for a future connection to SR 167. Sections of the road opened in the 1970s and 1980s only to stall over money and property ownership questions. Planning for the completion started again in 1990, with a trickle of dollars for further planning passing state lawmakers for two decades.

Benefits

  • The highway completion would relieve congestion on local roads and other highways by providing new travel options. It would:
  • add up to 79,000 long-term regional jobs from enhanced transportation;
  • add up to 4,200 short-term regional jobs supporting design and construction of highway completion;
  • move freight faster, more safely and more economically;
  • improve regional mobility;
  • support local and regional economic development and comprehensive land use plans;
  • enhance surface water quality and improve stream habitat feeding into Commencement Bay;
  • complete a highway segment designated as part of the National Highway System providing defense access, continuity

Fife open house

5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1

Fife Community Center

2111 54th Ave. E.

Fife, WA 98424

(served by Pierce Transit route 501)

Puyallup open house

5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3

Puyallup Activity Center

210 West Pioneer Ave.

Puyallup, WA 98371

(served by Pierce Transit route 409)

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