Photo from WSDOT
Holy smokes, that looks more confusing than the I-5 / SR-16 Interchange! Yes it is. This is Pierce County's WSDOT megaproject called SR 167 - Tacoma to Edgewood New Freeway Construction. It would extend SR 167 from where it ends in Puyallup today all the way to SR 509 at Port of Tacoma including this monstrosity of an interchange at I-5.
Sure, this project is underfunded by only $2.1 Billion, but hey according to today's article, that tolling could fund half of the first phase of the project! This project is already underway according to the most recent update on the project page that states: "To date, a total of 96 properties have been purchased representing about 46 percent of the corridor needed for the highway."
Projects like these and the Cross-Base Highway are in the pipeline for sure. I was quite confused back in April when Chris said that the Cross-Base highway was "back from the dead". That project never died! It's still on WSDOT's wishlist as is this extension of SR 167. There is a full $19.5 Billion in highways in the pipeline in just the next 10 years for the Puget Sound Region.
But to show a soft side, our very own Port of Tacoma is probably one of the biggest boosters for this highway project. They see the project as a way to increase freight accessibility to and from the Port with all the industrial development along SR 167. Sure it would help with decrease travel times maybe 5 minutes, but still, this project would be almost exclusively for personal vehicle travel.
Overall, it's just saddening to me that our state continues on with these new highway projects. Do we as a state really want our state to keep building these highway monstrosities while leaving transit systems out to die? Maybe most of the people in our state do want more highways. WSDOT is after all governed by state law requiring all gas taxes to be spent on only highways and the public has voted numerous times to increase our state gas tax. Want more highways? Do nothing!
Personally, I think we have enough highways and should be spending our money on sexier projects like extending Tacoma Link, making Pierce Transit better and also improving Amtrak Cascades if even spending any transportation money for expansion projects at all. These highway projects will only continue to promote what today are unsustainable automobiles and promote development of land in suburbia. My quality of life will decrease for sure as I much prefer the European model of centered cities and stricter rural land preservation. Extending SR 167 is something that I hope never happens. Ultimately I think I have to draw a line somewhere. I will move out of this country if this project ever goes to bid.