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Yelm receives Cullens Road upgrade grant – FINALLY
This blog advocated Cullens improvements since 2010 Loop opening

SR 510 Yelm Loop – Stage 1, opened October 20, 2010.
Photo courtesy: WSDOT

– Yelm recipient of Cullens Rd. improvement grant
– City diverts Mosman Rd. project funds to pay for required ADA ramps
– Cullens Rd. had only had “band aid” improvements since Loop opened Oct. 20, 2010
– Loop’s feeder truck/commuter traffic have used unimproved Cullens Rd. for 6+ years
– Cullens truck/commuter traffic parallels housing developments with children playing
– Former Mayor Harding never wanted Loop ending at Cullens Rd. to be noted on Comp. Plan
– FINALLY, this heavily traveled arterial road will be brought to proper standards!

– In-depth report:
Public Works Manager Maryanne Zukowski presented the Yelm Council the opportunity to accept and match a grant to repair/upgrade Cullens Rd., a major component in connecting the inner loop to Stage 1 of the SR 510 Yelm Loop. The council accepted the Washington Improvement Board grant for $559,000, also approving a required 10% match by the city. Also approved was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement by the city to also pay for compliant sidewalk ramps improvements bringing the total authorized expenses to Yelm of $93,000. The city will fund this project by redirecting monies from phase three of the Mosman Road project, not set to begin until later in 2017.

This Blog has been on-the-record for over 7 years that a Cullens Rd. upgrade should have been a top priority. With Stage 1 of the SR 510 Yelm Loop completed to Cullens Rd., a hefty increase in commuter and truck traffic would be transiting a burgeoning housing development with children, via an unimproved 2-lane road, with no proper shoulders nor sidewalks.

During the Public Hearing with the Yelm Planning Commission & Yelm City Council in early 2010, I requested the 2010 to 2015 Six Year Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Map be amended to show:
– Stage 1 of the Bypass (the 1.1 mile stretch from Mudd Run Rd. to Cullen) to be competed by 2011.
– Stage 2 (3.4 mile section from Cullen to Wal-Mart) to reflect as unfunded.
This would provide the true picture for planners in the city, county & state.
Yelm City Community Development Director Beck responded that was unnecessary and declined, leaving the map with showing a whole Y3 Bypass

Getting rebuffed by Mr. Beck, then-Mayor Harding, and the city council, I brought this issue to the attention of then-County Commissioner Sandra Romero at her Yelm Coffee Chat on April 26, 2010, who was joined by County Associate Planner Jeremy Davis. Mrs. Romero asked if I would meet with County officials to discuss my suggestion, since part of Stage One of the Bypass and Cullens Rd. are outside city limits in the county and she found my comments valid for review with the joint Comprehensive Plan Updates of the city & county. I agreed.

That meeting occurred with Thurston County officials and as this is a joint plan, they concurred with my reocmmendations & revised the “City of Yelm 20 Year Transportation Plan (2005-2030)” with a note at the top saying,
“Joint Plan Only – Y3 SR 510 to SR 507 (SR 510 Loop): As of 2010, improvements beyond Cullens Road are not funded, aside from right-of-way acquisision (sic). These Improvements are expected to be funded within the 20-year planning horizon.”

While Mayor Harding bristled to County officials at this change because of implications that could make the City of Yelm liable should any incident occur on Cullens being used as a feeder to/from a state highway, the revisions to the “City of Yelm 20 Year Transportation Plan (2005-2030)” remained. Remember that Harding was the one that requested WSDOT to divide the Loop into 2 Stages. Harding never made a Cullens Rd. upgrade a priority, taking a stand that the city’s lobbyist to the legislature would obtain funding quickly to complete Phase 2 of the Bypass, once Phase 1 was open, his plan for the 2 stages.

Then-Governor Gregoire said Yelm Loop funds would not be allocated until the 2021-2023 biennium, meaning once Phase 2 of the Loop was subsequently completed on that timetable, Cullens Rd. would carry very heavy traffic for 14-15 years, requiring the City of Yelm to then be aggressive in upgrading this road immediately. Harding and the council upgraded Killion Rd. via a L. I. D. bond, which I was on-the-record as being against in placing an undue burden on Killion area property owners. Harding did not make Cullens upgrades. Now halfway through that period of time with every-increasing car and truck traffic, this grant is very important to complete this upgrade, for the safety of our children playing in the now-large housing developments along Cullen Rd.

WSDOT reports the current status of Stage 2 as follows:
Stage 2 construction was funded by the Connecting Washington revenue package.
State 2 construction is scheduled to begin during 2021.
Read more

– Selected Blog entries on this issue:
* July 6, 2010
Click here

* September 12, 2010
Click here

* December 8, 2010
Click here

* June 27, 2013
Yelm Council approves’ band-aid’ road surfacing projects [includes Cullens Rd.]
Click here

Posted by Steve on January 31, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

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