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The local newspaper reported on the Yelm Bypass in their Friday, April 3 print edition.
Several distinctions need to be made about inaccuracies in their story:

1. The newspaper said, “the…bypass could see state funding this year to complete Phase One of the project, according to City of Yelm officials…. The Senate Transportation Committee’s proposed 2009-11 budget includes $11.47 million for the bypass…
The state House of Representatives still needs to approve the budget.”

While both the Senate & House proposals show $11 million for the Yelm Loop in ’09-’11, the money is divided into $2.3 million for engineering and $8.7 million for right-of-way, not construction, which the newspaper failed to mention. This from the Washington State Transportation Executive Information System (TEIS). “TEIS is a set of applications designed to facilitate transportation budget planning and oversight,” quoting the website.

How can there be construction IF there are no construction moneys allocated?
Either the Legislature or WSDOT will have to designate these monies as construction funding.
And, funding still must be approved by the House; then the budgets are reviewed by the Governor. House Legislative District 2 Rep. Tom Campbell is a strong advocate of Bypass funding.

2. The newspaper said, “Phase One of the bypass will consist of 4.2 miles of two-lane corridor with 9 intersections.”
Incorrect. The WSDOT website says the entire Loop is 4.2 miles with 9 intersections, not Phase One.

As WSDOT Bypass Project Manager Dennis Engel told the Yelm Community Blog last January,
“Our current design work is focused in the area of what could be stage 1, this work is also needed for the entire project. The City of Yelm is working with the legislature about the possibility of splitting the project into stage 1 and 2, and changing some of the funding to construction so stage 1 could be built.
…one possible solution is to move some of the PE [engineering] and Right of Way for the stage 2 area money to construction of the stage 1 work.”

Stage 1 – is a “Yelm High School Bypass” from Mud Run Rd. to Cullen Rd. (approx 1.1 miles)

Stage 2, the eastern, longer end of the Bypass is from Cullen Rd. to SR 507 & Wal-Mart, which now has no allocated funding until at least the 2021-2023 biennium.

3. The newspaper said, “Right-of-way (r-o-w) acquisition continues on Phase Two.”
While true, the newspaper omitted that the City of Yelm is pushing to transfer r-o-w and engineering funding from Phase 2 and designate that for Phase One construction, boosting the potential construction could start on Phase One, yet leaving Phase 2 with little to no funding. Phase 2 was to mitigate the Super Wal-Mart traffic and now looks like almost 15 years before any further funding would be considered by the legislature for that section. Wal-Mart got approval to be built by the city with their traffic mitigated by an unfunded road, the Bypass. So, Wal-Mart may be in operation 20 years before a Bypass is at their doorstep to handle their traffic. The city pushed a Wal-Mart through by saying a Bypass would be built within 7 years of Wal-Mart’s July, 2007 opening.


Posted by Steve on April 3, 2009 at 5:51 am | Permalink

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