PIERCE COUNTY COUNCIL APPROVED TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PACKAGE
Pierce County approved adding $50,000 in 2022 and $50,000 in 2023 to the Military Road study. This should help to fund the necessary studies to consider an alternate corridor to Military Road. The 128th St E extension from SR162 to South Hill is the leading consideration at this point.
WA STATE TRANSPORTATION BUDGET
Now is the time for contacting our legislators and transportation committees to fund improvements to SR162 in this legislative session. This year looks better than last year due to a revenue surplus. Last year new projects did not get funding due to revenue shortfalls. This means legislators need to be hearing from you the people to request funding for SR162 improvements now. We have narrowed our focus to adding a center turn lane on the corridor between SR410 and Military Road (the most congested portion of SR162).
ROUNDABOUT CONSTRUCTION WILL PROCEED
We have been unable to get state legislative support to force WSDOT to perform a more complete feasibility study on the proposed roundabout at 128th St E (McMillin) and SR162. Funding for the roundabout from the Tehaleh developer, therefore no state transportation dollars were needed. Even with all of the public support (petition and emails) for a new study, the state transportation committee would not make a request to WSDOT.
WSDOT RECEIVED FUNDING TO STUDY SR410/SR162 INTERCHANGE
Because the study request was a carry-over request from last session, the transportation package included funding for a study of this interchange. WSDOT is proposing adding roundabouts at both ends of the bridge over SR410.
We have been actively connecting with not only our district legislators but also all of the transportation committee members of both the House and Senate. We need you to do that too (See the Please Help page for guidance).
IMPACTS OF SR162 ON AN ORTING VALLEY EVACUATION EFFORT
Pierce County has created a valley evacuation plan, installed an early warning system, and added additional corridors to higher ground in case of a lahar event. The city of Orting has an evacuation plan in place as well. But there is a problem. The State of Washington has done nothing to improve evacuation efforts on the only escape route in the Orting Valley, SR162.
Now WSDOT is adding roundabouts to this corridor that will inhibit an evacuation effort. Further, they have no plans to widen the highway that would facilitate a faster and safer evacuation. We will continue to express our community concerns to legislators and you can do the same (go to our "PLEASE HELP" page for emails for legislators, WSDOT, and transporation committee chairs and members.
TNT HERALD ARTICLE
The latest is our reaction to the December 30, 2020 article in the TNT Herald that concluded we have lost the battle with WSDOT over the proposed roundabout at SR162 and 128th St E (the intersection where the four lane Tehaleh highway intersects with the two lane valley highway.) We obviously disagree and it has fueled our continued efforts to overcome the oligarchy methods WSDOT is using against us.
DAVID VS. GOLIATH:
We have made every effort to respectfully work with WSDOT and request answers to our questions. All efforts to open a dialog with them have been rejected. The answers to our questions are answered "in the model" but never shared with us. Now WSDOT claims that our requests come too late, they will be installing a two-lane roundabout. WSDOT may have overlooked that they may have wakened the TIGER by their oligarchy ways.
REVISIT LAHAR PAGE:
The Orting Valley is at high risk of being covered by a Mt. Rainier lahar. When is not the only question, how do we get people evacuated fast enough to save lives is another question. When is anyone's guess, but they say it is inevitable. How we save lives needs to be addressed NOW. Restricting the evacuation with a series of roundabouts on SR162 (as planned by WSDOT) is not good planning to save lives. (Also see our take action to page to stop roundabouts page HERE)