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“What’s up with Yelm’s bypass highway?” –
Letter-writer Randall Faulkner published in The Olympian


SR 510 – Yelm Loop Location Map, click here for aerial view
Photo credit: WSDOT

– Yelm’s Randall Faulkner had his letter published Saturday, July 2 in The Olympian.
The bypass highway has been partly built for some years now, but still it is unfinished.

Money has been allocated to finish it but years have gone by and nothing has been done. During rush hours people use the road coming from Lacey and Tumwater, then they boil off the end of the road and there is steady stream of traffic through the residential district.

This is what the bypass was designed to stop. Why hasn’t this project been completed? The money is there yet nothing is done. Is the problem with state or with the county?
Read more


– The Facts:
* Mr. Faulkner is correct about “the steady stream of traffic through the residential district,” caused exclusively by Mayor Harding (see below).

* Yelm’s Mayor Ron Harding requested the WSDOT divide the bypass and build a 1.1 mile section as soon as then possible (Stage 1).

* Harding wanted a small section of the bypass opened at all costs, so he could cut the ribbon and insure this monument to his legacy.

* Mr. Faulkner’s reference to the unfinished section is about Stage 2 (see below) funded by the Legislature in 2015 and will not begin construction until 2021.


* WSDOT Bypass Project Mgr. Dennis Engel told the Yelm Community Blog in January 2009:
“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 be used for construction so stage 1 could be built.
…one possible solution is to move some of the stage two PE [engineering] and Right of Way [r-o-w] money to stage one construction 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.”


* This split of the Bypass funding was requested by Yelm’s Mayor Ron Harding to WSDOT.
However in doing so, the City of Yelm requested to transfer r-o-w [right-of-way] and engineering funding from Phase 2 to Phase 1 construction funding, just so Phase 1 construction could begin, yet leaving Phase 2 with little to no remaining funds.

The split was approved by WSDOT and once Stage 1 was completed, semi-trailer & delivery trucks, and traffic by-passing Yelm’s commercial core were required to circumnavigate through Yelm’s two-lane residential areas.


* I then brought this issue before Thurston County, requesting their joint Comprehensive Plan with Yelm be updated with a notation about this issue, which they did on all of their documents.
Following that update, Mr. Harding called to admonish Thurston County officials for having done so.
Yet, the public’s records should reflect this information for planning purposes!
High volume rush-hour traffic through Yelm’s residential area where children play was caused directly at Mr. Harding’s hand, which he did not want noted.


From WSDOT about the SR 510 Loop (Yelm Bypass), July 2016:
Stage 2 construction was funded by the Connecting Washington revenue package approved by the 2015 Washington State Legislature.
State 2 construction is scheduled to begin during 2021.

Read more


– Editor’s Note:
An in-depth report of over ten years of history with Yelm’s SR 510 Loop was covered extensively here December 21, 2015.
Click here

Posted by Steve on July 3, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

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