City leaders in Maple Valley are hoping for help as congestion issues on Highway 169 continue to get worse. Maple Valley is one of four cities primarily served by Highway 169, along with Enumclaw, Black Diamond, and Covington. As of now, Highway 169 is one lane in and one lane out of Maple Valley.
“The last transportation bill passed by the state extends through nearly 2035, and so, any future funding for state highways would likely not start construction until after 2035. That’s a long way to wait. A long time to wait for citizens that are enduring some of the longest commutes in the entire nation,” Maple Valley City Councilor Leslie Burberry said. “I think there are many legislators that recognize that our funding mechanism and the adoption of road projects that that process is broken and needs to be fixed.”
“Our residents are trying to commute to jobs in Redmond, Bellevue, Seattle, and they are doing that by a one lane in, one lane out corridor. And it’s just, it’s exceeded its capacity,” Maple Valley City Manager Laura Philpot said. “We’re hoping that with fuel prices remaining low, and folks still buying fuel, that maybe there will be some excess gas tax collected and maybe the state can look at adding some projects or reprioritizing.”
“We don’t even want to consider what happens when you have a regional safety issue, when we have some sort of major emergency management, and you can’t get emergency vehicles out, we’re suddenly on an island, and it’s not just us, it’s a number of different communities,” City Councilor Dana Parnello said. “With one lane in and one lane out, I think we all owe a duty to the citizens in the area to ensure that we can get in and out in the community every day not just for work but in any time there’s any sort of an emergency situation.”
Leslie Burberry said the city has spent over $47 million in the last 20 years on road projects, but they know they cannot do the work on Highway 169 themselves. They know it will take collaboration from neighboring cities and the state government. City leaders want the people of Maple Valley to know they are working on a fix.
“We empathize with you, and we are trying desperately to be your voice at the state level. The city council is working really hard to look for solutions and to work with the state and the region,” Philpot said.