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Mill Creek and Snohomish County cooperating to widen Seattle Hill Road

Seattle Hill Road Improvement Project in Mill Creek.
Snohomish County plans to begin construction on the Seattle Hill Road Improvement project in 2017. Photo credit: Google Maps.

Snohomish County’s Seattle Hill Road widening project now has full support of the Mill Creek City Council. A year ago this was not the case.

The first week of September both the Mill Creek City Council and the Snohomish County Council approved an interlocal agreement to widen Seattle Hill Road between 35th Avenue SE and 132nd Street SE.

The resolution allowing Mill Creek City Manager Ken Armstrong to sign the negotiated interlocal agreement passed unanimously at the September 2, 2014, city council meeting.

Widening this two-mile stretch of Seattle Hill Road is estimated to cost $13.5 million and is scheduled to be complete in 2018.

The Seattle Hill Road Improvement Project has the following benefits:

  • It will ease traffic congestion during the morning and afternoon commutes by adding a center turn lane.
  • It will reduce the risk of collisions by smoothing out the road’s curves and hills and improving sight distance.
  • It will improve bike and pedestrian safety by adding dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks.
  • It will improve storm water runoff quality by using tree-box filters, grass-lined retention areas, and below-ground water treatment.

The negotiated Seattle Hill Road Interlocal Agreement limits Mill Creek’s portion of this project to $200,000 and has been in the works for a couple of years.

Snohomish County’s 2013 proposal for the agreement would have cost Mill Creek between $800,000 and $1,300,000.

At the June 11, 2013, Mill Creek City Council meeting a majority of the city council put this project way down the list for capital improvement projects in the city and declined to allow the interlocal agreement to be negotiated. However, the city council did give staff permission to continue discussions.

Snohomish County and Mill Creek staff continued to meet and an agreement more beneficial to Mill Creek was reached.

Snohomish County Councilmember and former Mill Creek Mayor Terry Ryan first presented Snohomish County’s 2014 proposal at the Mill Creek City Council’s regular April 8, 2014, meeting.

Ryan said that the project would benefit the local residents in Mill Creek and Snohomish County, and Snohomish County needed Mill Creek’s participation on the project to make it easier for the county to receive grants from Washington State and the Federal Government. He said at this time that Mill Creek’s portion of the project would be capped at $200,000.

At the September 2nd Mill Creek City Council meeting Mill Creek Public Works Director Tom Gathmann said an additional benefit to Mill Creek would be, “a municipal boundary change, which would locate all of the revised Seattle Hill Road right-of-way (ROW) in the County. This would also place all road, sidewalk and ROW maintenance responsibility, traffic enforcement and other related jurisdictional obligations with the County.”

Snohomish County now has a $780,000 federal grant for right of way land acquisition, which is scheduled to begin soon.

As well, Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board approved a $4 million construction award for the project.

The county hopes to receive significant additional grants to help pay for this road improvement project.

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