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With the local newspaper touting Yelm’s Bypass funding by the State Legislature and Mayor Harding saying this is “tangible”, one would come to believe we would have a partial Bypass built soon. However, the newspaper and Mayor Harding have omitted so many hurdles that still have to be overcome before this area sees construction funding even allocated for Phase 1 of a Bypass.

When the State Legislature concluded appropriating the $11 million Yelm Loop monies for ’09-’11, the funds were divided into $2.3 million for engineering and $8.7 million for right-of-way acquisition, not construction, which the newspaper & Mayor failed to mention.

You can see the Bypass funding allocation listed 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.

1. The current funding for right-of-way (r-o-w) acquisition and engineering will have be converted to construction funding for a Bypass to begin. That will now be left up to WSDOT and to be discussed when they meet the week of June 1st.

2. WSDOT will now have to take up the City of Yelm’s request about the possibility of splitting the Bypass project into phase 1 and 2, which the Legislature did not do. There has to be a scope change request for a phased project that would include construction and that has not happened, yet. With the way the budget is currently written, phased construction is possible, yet would require WSDOT Headquarters to reinterpret legislative intent.

Bottom Line: The only way now available for Yelm’s Bypass Phase 1 construction funding to be approved is for the Yelm Bypass to be officially divided into two Phases by WSDOT
(Phase 1 & 2 as previously discussed here),
change the Legislature’s funding to construction monies, then allocate those funds for construction for Phase 1.

Is that possible? Yes! Though not assured….

We could see construction start on Phase 1 by year’s end, followed by an official opening in 2010 with Bypass traffic then traversing neighborhood streets (Killion & Cullens) with children playing and not designed to handle the load, because the the 2 Phase split.


Posted by Steve on May 20, 2009 at 5:49 am | Permalink

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