As soon as the Enumclaw and Buckley side of the Foothills Trail meets the White River, a new bridge will be constructed with county and state funds. Image courtesy King County

As soon as the Enumclaw and Buckley side of the Foothills Trail meets the White River, a new bridge will be constructed with county and state funds. Image courtesy King County

Levy passage ensures Foothills Trail bridge connection

A new bridge could come as soon as 2021 or 2022.

Those who have long dreamed of a bridge over the White River – a span that would connect segments of the Foothills Trail in Enumclaw and Buckley – can breathe a bit easier.

With passage of King County’s recent Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space levy, the final piece of the funding puzzle has fallen into place. Other sources of money had been locked up, but the levy contained the final dollars.

The county levy was on the Aug. 6 ballot and, while the election was not officially certified until yesterday (Tuesday), the measure clearly received voter support. As of late last week, the count was running 70 percent in favor of passage.

So, the big question now — particularly for those who have worked toward a connecting bridge — is simple: when should a span over the White River be expected?

A project manager for King County provided a “big picture” answer that contains each element leading up to a full connection between King and Pierce counties.

• Currently under way is the paving of a stretch of Foothills Trail – about three-quarters of a mile – that runs parallel to state Route 410. The new pavement will start at the Enumclaw city limits and extend nearly to Boise Creek. Identified as “Segment A” it is expected to be open for public use this fall.

• A final extension of Segment A will reach the Boise Creek bridge but will not tackled until the summer of 2020. An emailed message from the county noted that work at the creek will take place “concurrent with the allowable in-water work fish window (July/August).” The schedule calls for large, woody debris to be placed in Boise Creek.

• The final step, identified as Segment B, involves construction from the Boise Creek bridge across the White River and into Buckley. That work is scheduled to take place in 2021 and 2022, but the county points out the work will be “subject to permit issuance by multiple regulatory agencies.”

LEVY PROVIDED FINAL DOLLARS

Voters throughout King County, including those in Enumclaw, contributed to the passage of the county-issued Proposition 1. It goes on the books next year and will generate tax dollars for six years, replacing an existing levy.

In pitching the levy renewal to voters, the county stated money would be made available for things like open spaces, trails, recreation, public pools, Woodland Park Zoo operations and a capital project at the Seattle Aquarium.

King County has noted approximately 20 percent of the available funds would be used to “improve regional trails and mobility.” Included in that $165.6 million was the Foothills Trail work linking the existing pavement on each side of the river.

In all, it’s expected the levy renewal will generate about $810 million during its six-year lifespan. For the owner of property assessed at $500,000, that means about $7.60 per month in taxes.

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