Freeway-to-downtown list narrower


The Mirror

A stakeholders group is whittling down the number of ways to improve access from Interstate 5 into downtown Federal Way from a starting field of almost 50 to a manageable four or five.

The volunteers have spent hours reviewing the feasibility of the options presented and, so far, has reduced the list to 15. Among the options:

• An access at South 317th Street.

• Turning South 316th and South 324th or South 320th and South 324th into complimentary one-way streets.

• Creating a bridge crossing from the South 324th Street park-and-ride lot to the east side of I-5.

• Improving the interchange at South 320th.

The stakeholders also kept several variations of a diamond interchange from I-5 at South 304th Street for further review and discussion.

During the first round of eliminations, the stakeholders used simple criteria to determine whether a project would work. If an idea contained serious flaws –– in design or legality, for example –– it was eliminated from the list.

Now the group is applying more specific and more complicated criteria to narrow the field even more and take the remaining options from “stick-figure drawings on a piece of paper to geometric configurations,” said Maryanne Zukowski, a city traffic engineer who’s leading the downtown access study.

Once this part of the process is complete, the group will undertake an even more stringent, third filtering process that should result in a final preference and recommendation to submit to the City Council. An update to the city’s Land-Use and Transportation Committee is tentatively slated for the third week of October, and the group hopes to hold an open house in January.

Once the council approves an option, it will be sent to the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for the final go-ahead.

“It’s moving right along,” Zukowski said.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565,

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