Bridges and Roads Task Force Wraps-Up Work and Prepares to Present Recommendations to County Executive

Bridges and Roads Task Force members with King County DOT Director Harold Taniguchi and King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, 2015.

Bridges and Roads Task Force members with King County DOT Director Harold Taniguchi and King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert.

After six months of meeting and brainstorming, the 21-member Bridges and Roads Task Force is ready to present its Final Report and Recommendations to King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council. The regional panel launched last August to explore long-term solutions for maintaining and preserving the aging bridge and road system in unincorporated King County.

The last Bridges and Roads Task Force meeting is January 20 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the King Street Center 8th floor Conference Center.

The Bridges and Roads Task Force membership includes a diverse group of community and policy leaders. They represent Skyway, Fall City, Four Creeks and Vashon Island, along with emergency services, unions, the dairy and cattle industry, Washington Bikes and the Boundary Review Board. Membership also includes representatives from Futurewise and the Puget Sound Regional Council, a City of Duvall Councilmember, road experts, a State Senator and House Representative, the Mayor of Snoqualmie and the City Manager of Issaquah.

The system for funding maintenance, operation, and replacement of bridges and roads in unincorporated King County hasn’t been revisited in nearly 30 years, and it no longer works. Nearly three decades of annexations, changes in property levies for roads, declines in gas tax revenues, and the effects of voter initiatives have led to the chronic underfunding of today – where it is predicted that some bridges and portions of our roads may have to be restricted or closed as they become unsafe.

Bridges and Roads Task Force brainstorm on recommendations. October 2015.

Bridges and Roads Task Force brainstorm on recommendations at October 2015 meeting.

Chances are you’ve traveled the bridges and roads that King County Road Services maintains. The busiest include Novelty Hill Road near Redmond, Issaquah-Hobart Road and Auburn-Black Diamond Road. For recreationalists, the bridge leading into Flaming Geyser State Park near Auburn is also highly traveled.

Road Services, a division of the King County Department of Transportation, maintains about 1,500 miles of roads and 181 bridges in unincorporated King County. As the crow flies, it is approximately 1,200 miles from Canada to Mexico. Our road system supports more than one million trips every day – people traveling to work, school, and recreation; businesses and farmers delivering goods and services; and emergency responders. People from all parts of the county – and beyond – use them. About half the trips on the high-volume roads originate not only in cities, but come from other counties including Snohomish and Pierce.

For more information, including Task Force member bios, meeting summaries, agendas and presentations, visit the Task Force webpage.