The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has included the Sultan Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge project on its list of projects recommended to receive a total of $17.5 million in federal funds administered through the 2017 – 2020 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).
The Transportation Alternatives Program dedicates Federal Highway Administration (FHA) funding to nontraditional projects aimed at enhancing the transportation system. The Sultan Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge project, which will receive $2.5 million in construction funding in 2018, was eligible for the award based on criteria outlined in the TAP’s “Bicycle and Pedestrian” category. The city of Sultan was one of 12 agencies recommended for funding, out of a total of 64 applications.
“The city is thrilled to see this project move forward,” said Sultan Mayor John Seehuus. “This bridge will be such a tremendous asset for our community, serving not only as a vital community connector, but also providing critical, life-saving access in the event that an earthquake or other natural disaster renders the existing highway bridge inoperative.”
The bridge design was funded in 2012 with an STP grant administered by the PSRC in the amount of $417,229, plus an additional $100,000 legislative proviso from the Washington State Legislature. The city will match the TAP grant funding with over $1 million in city funds generated through impact and REET fees. The total cost of construction is estimated at just over $3.5 million.
Construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2018 upon approval of environmental documents and permits. It is anticipated that the project will take about a year to complete.
The Sultan Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge project constructs a non-motorized, ADA-compliant bicycle and pedestrian bridge that spans the Sultan River. The 627-foot long, 10-foot wide bridge runs parallel to and independent of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) U.S. 2 vehicle bridge, located east of milepost 22. The bridge connects River and Sportsman parks, helps to build a more robust pedestrian network and provides ADA-compliant passage where currently none exists.
Residents who have braved the existing pedestrian walkway are all too familiar with its narrow width.
Sultan resident Dave Sivewright has achieved widespread recognition and respect for running along U.S. 2 with a four-foot by six-foot American flag. Nicknamed the “Highway 2 Freedom Runner,” Sivewright uses the existing pedestrian walkway on a regular basis.
“While running is always a challenge, it’s an even bigger challenge when faced with an obstacle like the U.S. 2 bridge,” wrote Sivewright in his support letter. “Unfortunately, passage over the bridge is a necessary evil, as it is the only way to get across the Sultan River. The skinny pathway is challenging to navigate under the best of circumstances, but when there are other walkers, runners or bicyclists, there is not enough room for two people to pass. If two people are unlucky enough to be on the bridge at the same time, one has to stop and let the other go by.”
The list of recommended projects was compiled by the PSRC Project Selection Committee in late October, 2017. Next, it will be up for consideration by the PSRC Transportation Policy Board, which released the list of recommended projects for public comment on November 9. The Transportation Policy Board will give its funding recommendation on January 11, 2018, after which the project list will advance to the PSRC Executive Board, which approves the projects for funding on January 25, 2018.
Over the past five years, the city has received widespread community support for the pedestrian bridge project, including numerous letters of advocacy and hundreds of signatures that were forwarded to the state legislature as the city sought construction funding.
WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT ONE MORE TIME!!
The PSRC public comment period is OPEN, and we would like to invite project supporters to submit comments about how important this bridge is for our community. If you have already submitted a letter of support to the city, please consider copying and pasting your support letter into an email to the PSRC to ensure it is considered by the board. Public comments will be collected and presented to the PSRC board for its consideration when it takes final action. Comments can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to the PSRC at:
Puget Sound Regional Council
Attn: Sarah Gutschow
1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98104-1035
In-person comments can be made January 11th at 9:30 a.m. or January 25th at 10 a.m. at the PSRC offices at 1011 Western Avenue, Suite 500 in Seattle.
The city thanks the community extensively for its continued support of this project. Let’s make a solid impression on the PSRC with one last thrust of support for this bridge! The public comment period will be open until January 25, 2018. To review the grant application submitted by the city, click here: https://www.psrc.org/sites/default/files/sultan_sultan-pedestrian-and-bicycle-bridge_web.pdf.
For a copy of the city’s flyer, please click here.