If the city of Bonney Lake decides to pursue a business owner’s request to downgrade the classification of a portion on state Route 410, chances of it being approved appear slim.
During a Feb. 17 City Council workshop, Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said the state generally doesn’t favor downgrading the classification of a highway.
Council members discussed the matter after a citizen requested the classification change during the Feb. 10 council meeting.
Roger Watt, owner of Emerald Links, asked the city to change SR 410 between 214th Avenue East to 234th from a Class 2 to a Class 3 classification.
During the workshop, Grigsby said the primary difference between a Class 2 and Class 3 is the distance between access points to the highway. Under terms of Class 2, the distance is 660 feet between access points; for Class 3, it’s 330 feet.
He said SR 410 from Myers Road to 214th is Class 3, and Class 2 from 214th to the city limits, just past 234th.
Grigsby said a formal request for reclassification cannot come from a private organization, but only from one of three organizations – a Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Metropolitan Planning Organization or local city government who has jurisdiction. The process could take a year or longer, he added.
“If the city went though the process, it probably wouldn’t be approved anyway,” Grigsby said. “The state really doesn’t like downgrading a highway.”
He added it would take a lot of time and the city would have to hire a consultant if it wanted to pursue the process.
In 1997, the state reviewed the classification for the highway and recommended the only access points be at 234th and Mundy-Loss Road with a concrete median barrier the entire length of the section.
Grigsby said when the city annexed a strip including the highway east to 234th, the state was asked to look at reclassifying the highway. The state won’t change the classification, but told Bonney Lake since it was going though a Comprehensive Subarea Planning Process, the state would work with the city.
The state’s current plan is to widen the north side of SR 410 at 225th for additional lanes and a traffic signal can be installed. He said the state also is planning a left-turn lane for westbound traffic at 219th and intends to realign 234th with 233rd. Grigsby said the state drafted its plans based on Class 2 standards.
Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said he didn’t feel it was a good idea to downgrade the highway.
“Each and every individual can get to the highway, today, and probably they want more,” he said. “There’s an interest in moving traffic through the area and not becoming another South Hill.”
Councilman Dave Bowen said “the state and the city is doing the people of East Town wrong.”
“Through a majority of the city (410) is one classification,” Bowen said. “But when it gets to us we’re a different class.”
Swatman noted that most of the parcels in East Town are probably less than 330 feet wide. Bowen said his parcel is less than 500 feet.
“It’s kind of academic,” Swatman said. “If your parcel is 300 to 400 feet wide, you are guaranteed a right-in, right-out today on each and every single parcel along SR 410.”
Bowen said when the frontage road is built, the parcel owners would lose their access to the highway.
“Except for the mapped streets,” Grigsby added.
Bowen said some land owners feel their best chance of selling their land for the price they want is to make it available for a “big box store.”
The council met again Tuesday night and the next workshop is is planned for Tuesday.
Reach Dannie Oliveaux at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8209.