Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Study ID's Needed Tacoma Tideflats-Area Transportation Projects

Washington state and Tacoma-area local transportation departments have released a new study identifying nearly $680 million in needed future transportation projects to assure the growth of freight-related traffic to and from the Tacoma Tideflats area.

The year-long $515,000 study – funded by the port, the state, local city agencies and members of industry – analyzed existing transportation conditions and identified roads to be examined for potential improvement to keep freight moving. The goal of the study, according to the port, was to develop a plan to enhance the economic benefits of the Tacoma Tideflats-area, improve roadway traffic circulation and reduce congestion by 2030.

The result, released Friday, is the Tideflats Area Transportation Study (TATS), identified by the port as "a new tool to prioritize and seek funding for road and rail improvements in the Tacoma Tideflats area."

The TATS, which analyzed the Port of Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, the City of Fife, as well as portions of unincorporated Pierce County and the Puyallup Indian Reservation, came to two primary conclusions, according to the port.

First, the tideflats traffic system will not improve transportation operations without the completion of State Route 167. Second, the tideflats traffic system will collapse by 2030, even with the completion of State Route 167, without an additional $290 to $335 million in transportation infrastructure projects identified in the study.

The infrastructure projects identified by the study include $140 million to $150 million in tideflats-area access projects, $5 million to $10 million in port access projects, $110 million to $130 million in industrial access projects, and $35 million to $45 million in local access projects.

The identified projects, which do not include State Route 167, are smaller projects that could ease localized pinch points in the near-term and enhance the overall system after SR 167 is finally complete. Altogether, the study’s recommended projects, added to the unfunded portion of supporting projects expected to be built by 2030, total between $579 million and $679 million, again, not including the completion of SR 167.

The full report can be viewed at www.portoftacoma.com/tats.