The owner of a golf driving range believes all of state Route 410 passing through Bonney Lake should all be classified the same for safety reasons and to help the city achieve some of its goals.
During a Feb. 10 council meeting, Roger Watt submitted his request for the council to change the designation along SR 410 between 214th Avenue East and 234th from a Class 2 to Class 3 highway.
“There’s a little controversy on the right-in, right-out for the LLC Development,” said Watt, owner of Emerald Links. He was referring to the Compass Pointe development.
He told the council after receiving information from Public Works Director Dan Grigsby, he discovered a letter dated Jan. 17, 2008, from Perry Shay to Grigsby noting the state’s opposition to the right-in, right-out nature of the development.
Shay is a traffic engineering consultant for the city.
Watt pointed out that in his letter, Shay wrote of a conflict with the proposed development of the LLC and Washington Administrative Code 46852, because a Class 2 highway requires a distance of 660 feet between access points. He added the letter stated concerns with the development’s street maps and east-west frontage road.
He said he didn’t know if the letter was discussed during the May 2008 council workshops concerning the right-in, right-out issue. Watt said it was the first time he saw the letter and didn’t recall it being discussed at the workshops.
Watt said he heard the Washington State Department of Transportation turned down the right-in, right-out proposal.
He said another letter from WSDOT was against the right-in, right-out proposal, citing it was a Class 2 highway and the 660-foot limitations would come into effect.
“For myself and operating the driving range, I hate to see my clients and customers coming in, because that highway is a dangerous highway as a two-lane,” said Watt. “I’ll be glad to see it when it is a four-lane highway.”
In his request, Watt stated when the East Town area was annexed into Bonney Lake, the city became the permitting authority on state Route 410. But Grigsby told Watt the city is the permitting authority for only a portion of SR 410.
“We don’t have the authority to change the classification,” Grigsby noted. “We’re locked into whatever the design standards are for that classification of highway.”
Grigsby told council members that only the DOT can change the classification of a state highway. He said the city requested that the state change the classification on that portion of 410, but was denied.
He said he was told by the state the reason SR 410 through Bonney Lake is Class 3, is because that’s the way it was billed at the time of the classification.
“East Town had not been developed yet and they (state) said it should be a Class 2 highway,” Grigsby added.
Grigbsy told Watt the city doesn’t have the authority to change classifications of highways, only the state does. He said he doesn’t know the process to change a classification of a state highway.
Some of Watt’s other concerns were:
• Consistency: SR 410 through Bonney Lake to 214th is a Class 3 highway.
• Safety and traffic mobility: As a Class 3 highway from the top of Elhi Hill to 214th, the speed limit is 45 mph. He said it exceeds the WAC-recommended posted speed of 35 to 40 mph.
Watt said according to WAC’s definition of a Class 3 highway, it is used primary where the existing level of development of the adjoining land is less extensive than maximum buildout and where the probability of significant land use changes, can increase traffic.
He feels changing the classification would help the city.
“Changing from Class 2 to Class 3 gives the city more flexibility to achieve its goals for East Town without compromising its moral obligation to the standards set,” Watt said.
Watt believes East Town should be developed under a Class 3 rather than Class 2 highway classification.
Councilman Dan Decker asked Watt if he wanted the city to reduce the speed limit on the portion of SR 410 he addressed. Watt said the speed limit is not a big issue to him.
Mayor Neil Johnson said the city needs to gather more information and bring it back to the council to review.
Councilman David Bowen asked Johnson if it should go before the council or the Community Development Committee.
“I think the entire council should be involved in the process,” Johnson said. “You’re planning the future.”
Grigsby said the WSDOT plans to widen SR 410 from 214th and 234th by the end of 2010.
Reach Dannie Oliveaux at email@example.com or 360-802-8209.