After two years of closure and nearly a decade of planning, the Southeast 62nd Street Extension project in Issaquah was completed and opened for public use on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The road project now connects Eastlake Sammamish Parkway and Lake Drive through the newly extended Southeast 62nd street. The project features an 800-foot bridge as part of the connection and a roundabout that will mange traffic flow crossing east and west, but also north and south to 221st Place Southeast and Fourth Avenue Northwest.
Public works director Sheldon Lynne said the project did more than just connect roads. The city was able to take six acres of land between the north fork and the main stem of Issaquah Creek and preserve it as open space (it had been zoned for multi-family residential development). The project also created two acres of wetland.
The crossing now includes a grade separated path for East Lake Sammamish Trail that runs underneath the elevated roundabout, meaning pedestrians and cyclists no longer interact with vehicle traffic passing through.
Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said the project is the largest capital project in the history of the city at a total of about $44 million. Funding the project wouldn’t have been possible with out the city’s partners on the project, she said. The city of Issaquah only put $4 million into the project while partners like Costco contributed $23 million, and the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board and Department of Commerce put in a combined sum of more than $15 million.
It has taken nearly 10 years from the inception of the project to get to this point. The city began work on a funding package in 2010, which was completed in 2015.
The road extension came about to alleviate current and future traffic planned as the city grows, especially as Costco corporate headquarters plans for its expansion project. Costco has contributed $25 million to a suite of three transportation projects related to the business’s expansion in the city, with the extension project being the largest by far.
Pauly thanked residents and businesses who have been patient with the project and as construction had to cut off one of the four highway crossings in the city.
“Thank you to the community — we closed one of the four under-crossings of Interstate 90 in town for two years and the community has been frustrated but enormously patient,” she said. “It’s so exciting that we can open it up for traffic.”
By Evan Pappas