Traffic between Enumclaw and Buckley can back up all the way to the SR 410 and SE 465th Street intersection. Modern traffic lights may be able to help with that. Photo by Kevin Hanson

Traffic between Enumclaw and Buckley can back up all the way to the SR 410 and SE 465th Street intersection. Modern traffic lights may be able to help with that. Photo by Kevin Hanson

Modern lights aim to tame 410 traffic

Rush hour traffic between Enumclaw and Buckley is a drag. But a DOT project to modernize Buckley’s traffic lights could make smooth sailing of future trips.

The daily slog from Enumclaw to Buckley might be safe – accidents are rare when everyone is crawling at 10 miles per hour – but the pace tries the patience of those behind the wheel.

The state Department of Transportation thinks it might be able to help and plans are in the works for a summertime project.

Nothing will alleviate the fact that too many drivers are crowding a two-lane road, coupled with the fact that the White River bridge is the only option for many miles if one is to drive from King into Pierce county.

But a partial solution to the persistent traffic jams could tie into the four signal lights that line SR 410 through the Buckley city limits.

Dave Schmidt, Buckley city administrator, said the DOT intends to modernize the traffic lights at Park Avenue, Main Street and Mundy Loss Road. The result, it is hoped, will make traffic flow more freely.

Presently, the lights are on a constant rotation, alternating through the traditional red-yellow-green pattern no matter the traffic flow. That causes backups, particularly at Park Avenue.

Schmidt said the new lights will be able to detect cross traffic or – more important – if there is no cross traffic. The new system will allow a light to remain green for 410 traffic unless another driver wants to cross the highway.

Contacted late last week, the DOT’s Cara Mitchell said it’s expected work will begin in late June and be completed by the end of October. The total cost of replacing the three traffic lights, she said, is $2.7 million. Part of that cost is for land acquisition; presently, the traffic lights hang from a wire suspended between two wooden poles; the new system will use the design found at the city’s newest light at the 410/164 junction – a single arm extending over the highway.

Mitchell also provided numbers showing why traffic is such an issue between Enumclaw and Buckley. The latest traffic count, from 2016, showed a daily average of 18,000 automobiles passing through the intersection of SR 410 and Mundy Loss Road; the average jumps to 20,000 autos daily at the Main Street and Park Avenue intersections.

The Buckley City Council did its part to cooperate with the DOT during a March 13 meeting. Because the traffic light replacement project will impact motorists,the state agency asked that off-duty Buckley police officers be made available to assist with traffic control.

The council agreed to the request, which anticipates a payment from the state of $2,550. That is based on a rate of $85 per hour for officers working overtime.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Empty Bowls again raising money to feed the hungry

The annual event is this Friday, Feb. 28, at Enumclaw High.

After hate group comes to town, Black Diamond talks inclusion

The city council decided to workshop a resolution, proclamation, or mission statement later in March.

Needles littered the ground throughout a homeless encampment at Federal Way’s Hylebos Wetlands, which is public property. Sound Publishing file photo
Republican leadership doubts effectiveness of homelessness spending

Democrats propose hundreds of millions toward affordable housing.

Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht gave a response to an Office of Law Enforcement Oversight report on Feb. 25 before the King County Law and Justice Committee. The report recommended ways her department could reform use of force policy and internal investigations. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Council unsatisfied with Sheriff’s response to use of deadly force report

The King County Sheriff’s Office could be required to explain why it didn’t implement recommendations.

King County approves low-income Metro fare waivers

Low-income transit riders could see their King County Metro fares waived beginning… Continue reading

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
Charter amendments could allow King County Council to remove elected officials

The change was recommended by the charter review commission.

Voters could vote to affirm subpoena powers for civilian KCSO oversight agency

The King County charter review commission recommended enshrining the power in the charter.

What happens if the novel coronavirus spreads here? | Public Health Insider

Even though a severe outbreak may not happen, it’s smart to start preparing now.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democratic lawmakers roll out spending plans for climate change, homelessness

Republican opposition calls for tax relief, rather than spending the increased revenue.

Most Read