198th Avenue East expected to expand into Tehalah this summer

Construction is expected to begin this summer on the "missing link" of roadway that will lead to the Tehaleh development south of the Bonney Lake city limits.

Construction is expected to begin this summer on the “missing link” of roadway that will lead to the Tehaleh development south of the Bonney Lake city limits.

For nearly as long as the development, formerly known as Cascadia, plans have called for the extension of 198th Avenue East from its current dead end between Bonney Lake High School and Mountain View Middle School to Rhodes Lake Road.

As Cascadia languished and eventually fell into bankruptcy, the road project was put on hold. But the project was sold to Newland Homes, who re-christened it Tehaleh and has been working to re-start the project, which saw resident begin to move in last year.

According to Vice President and General Manager Scott Jones, Tehaleh is presently working with Pierce County to acquire the rights-of-way for the new roadway, as well as completing the engineering and permitting process, something they expect to be completed by late spring.

“The plan is to begin construction in the summer of this year,” Jones said, adding that they hope to finish the work by summer of 2014.

Once completed, the new roadway will be the primary entrance to the 4,200-acre project.

“It will be a direct route,” Jones said. “This would be the main route for several years.”

The project is part of mitigation efforts agreed upon by Pierce County and Cascadia in the early part of this century. Jones said the project was designed in conjunction with the city of Bonney Lake and the state as well.

Jones said the path through the dead end is generally clear, as the school district planned for the road to eventually go through, though he said there is one house that will have to be demolished at the corner of Rhodes Lake Road and 198th. According to Jones, however, the property owners planned for the construction by building a new home on the property and moving into that.

Following the completion of this project, Jones said there was one more piece of the road to be completed, south of 120th Street. According to Jones, that section of the roadway will need to be widened from two lanes to four, once all rights-of-way are purchased, expected to be completed by 2016.

Jones said the total road project, including rights-of-way, permits and construction will cost approximately $6 million.

The completion of the roadway would help ease traffic on South Prairie Road out to the Tehaleh site as well as complete what has been missing piece of infrastructure for Pierce County.

“This is a good example of a public/private partnership,” Jones said.

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