State funding to complete the Simdars Road bypass was moved up in the latest legislative session from the 2031-33 biennium for the Department of Transportation’s Move Ahead Washington plan to include $2.642 million in the 2023-25 biennium and $26.979 million in the 2025-27 biennium. (Matthew Nash /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

State funding to complete the Simdars Road bypass was moved up in the latest legislative session from the 2031-33 biennium for the Department of Transportation’s Move Ahead Washington plan to include $2.642 million in the 2023-25 biennium and $26.979 million in the 2025-27 biennium. (Matthew Nash /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

State funding for Simdars Road bypass moves up

City projects include deeper well, more park space

SEQUIM — The latest legislative session saw one of the Sequim area’s biggest projects move up several years in the funding cycle.

The U.S. 101 East Sequim Road Project was originally slated to receive $31 million through the state’s Move Ahead Washington effort by the 2031-33 biennium, but City of Sequim lobbyist Davor Gjurasic reported in April that the project has been moved up to receive $2.642 million in the 2023-25 biennium and $26.979 million in the 2025-27 biennium.

Sequim, Clallam County and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe officials advocated in 2022 to the Department of Transportation to move up the funding, and build it in conjunction with the Johnson Creek culvert replacement project.

However, various officials report the projects don’t appear to be slated to run in tandem.

The Simdars Road Interchange was planning to be completed in August 1999 with the opening of the 4.6-mile U.S. Highway 101 bypass, but a lack of funds has left the project incomplete.

In the decades since, stakeholders have advocated that completing the bypass would help economic development in the city’s east side and increase safety for Palo Alto and Happy Valley roads.

Tentative construction would finish the Simdars Road interchange and create frontage roads from Palo Alto Road and Happy Valley Roads off the highway.

In 2019, legislators funded $1.3 million for the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to do pre-design work and community outreach, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOT officials report they anticipate more information on the project in June.

City projects

For Sequim, the city received a $375,000 grant for park acquisition through the state, a $4.83 million low-interest loan for a deep well on Silberhorn Road, and a $2.1 million split loan/grant for design of the West Sequim Bay Corridor Infrastructure Project.

Sequim Public Works director Sarah VanAusdle said city staff asked for $750,000 and received half of that for potential park property purchases that could include trails and other amenities, such as a splash pad.

“We’ve been keeping our eye out for appropriate parcels of land,” she said.

Sequim staff reported to the city council that they learned of potential money for park space purchasing shortly before the deadline.

For the Silberhorn Road deep well, VanAusdle said the city took out a 1.39 percent, 20-year loan through the state’s Public Works Board for $4.83 million that will go into a deeper aquifer to help water capacity for the city and private wells in the area.

Preliminary engineering work is being done now for the project located in the Dr. Standard Little League Park, which VanAusdle said won’t interfere and is unrelated to Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s proposed remodel of the park’s parking lot.

Meggan Uecker, Sequim’s resource analyst, said the city received $2.1 million through the state Department of Ecology’s Clean Water fund to extend sewer services along West Sequim Bay Road from Independence Drive to Forrest Road and a to-be-built lift station.

One of the drives for the project would be to connect PNNL-Sequim to city services and future development in the area.

These latest funds go toward design of the extension and lift station with a request for proposal closing May 24 for the design work, Uecker said.

Half of the amount is forgivable principal loan too, she said.

The whole project, including design, would cost about $12.1 million, staff reports.

City staff also sought funds to help build an approximate $38 million city shop, but did not receive any funds from the state.

VanAusdle said the city is using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, about $1 million, toward design work of the phased project that would include a new shop building and fueling station. City staff continue to seek other grant funding options, she said.

Other projects

This summer, work will tentatively begin on two other sizable city street projects.

Sequim staff estimate that an overlay project for North Sequim Avenue from Washington Street to Hendrickson Road will go to bid soon.

The city received about $800,000 from a federal Surface Transportation Block Grant for the project. VanAusdle said staff hope to begin construction in July. The project will be similar to work that finished along West Washington Street in 2022, and it’ll likely occur at nighttime like the other project.

The second project will add sidewalks on west North Sequim Avenue and repave the road from Hendrickson Road to the Port Williams Road/Old Olympic Highway roundabout.

Funds from the Safe Routes to School Program and Transportation Improvement Board, along with local funds are paying for the project. It is almost ready to go to bid too, VanAusdle said, but its estimated cost two years ago may cost more than the initial estimate.

Paving likely won’t start this summer though, she said.

For more on City of Sequim projects, visit sequimwa.gov or call 360-683-4139.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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