Kenmore's TBD decides to forego Sammamish River Bridge tolls for now | Updated
By MATT PHELPS
Bothell Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
October 25, 2012 · Updated 4:17 PM
The City of Kenmore’s Transportation Benefit District (TBD) Board decided Monday night that it will not go forward with tolls on the Sammamish River Bridge during its regularly scheduled meeting. The board also agreed to gather more information on the condition of the Sammamish River Bridge.
Bothell-reporter.com first reported on this story on Oct. 15.
“Rather than making Kenmore residents pay a toll we really want to get a federal grant,” said Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey.
Tolling is not the only funding option for the Sammamish River Bridge. For example, federal grants, such as the “BRAC” grant, have traditionally funded the bulk of the cost of regional bridge replacements.
Karlinsey said that those grants traditionally are split 80-20 percent with the lower amount being paid locally.
“There are no guarantees that the city will be successful in getting grants for the bridge, but we will aggressively pursue any grants or subsidized loans we can find to help us with costs,” said city spokeswoman Leslie Harris.
City officials still noted that the bridge is a main thoroughfare for the Eastside.
“It is a main route around (Lake Washington) and there is an argument to be made for federal and state money,” said Karlinsey.
The city has begun researching options for funding but it is not yet known when the west Sammamish River Bridge will need to be replaced.
“We really need to know how long we have on the bridge,” said Karlinsey.
Kenmore vehicle fee
In November, the board will hold a special meeting to discuss adopting a resolution to implement a $20 vehicle fee. If passed, the resolution would not take effect for six months. Revenue generated from the vehicle fee will help fund pavement preservation throughout the city.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, city staff met with the King County Bridge Inspection group to discuss their recent inspection of the Sammamish River Bridges on 68th Ave. N.E. There are two separate structures for north and south bound traffic. The “younger” east bridge’s condition is acceptable. The west bridge, constructed in 1938, continues to age and shows more signs of wear.
Currently, the city is working with King County to perform the following for the west bridge: a new load rating study, an update of the bridge monitoring plan and additional analysis of the pilings and the superstructure (bridge deck and girders) in order to create a short-term maintenance plan. King County is anticipated to provide a findings report during the first quarter of 2013. Once the information becomes available, staff will provide an update on the findings to the board at a public meeting.
To learn more about the Transportation Benefit District, visit www.kenmorewa.gov.
Contact Bothell Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-483-3732 (ext 5050).