Several transportation projects in the area, including one at Sharpes Corner and the Anacortes state ferry terminal, are included in the state transportation budget okayed by the Senate this week.
“Commutes will improve steadily across the region as a result of these projects,” Sen. Kevin Ranker, said in a news release. “Everything we’re doing is designed to make it easier and safer for people to travel, whether by land or water.”
Road projects include $3.5 million to reduce collisions and improve safety along SR 20 at the Fidalgo Bay Road intersection at Sharpes Corner near Anacortes; $2 million to replace the deteriorating wood and concrete Burlington North overpass along SR 99 with a new overpass three miles north of Burlington; and $350,000 to help prevent future landslides on Mackaye Harbor Road on Lopez Island.
The Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, Friday Harbor and Anacortes terminals will benefit from more than $30.8 million for improvements and needed maintenance, while the ferries Chelan, Sealth, Evergreen, Elwha, Kaleetan, Yakima and Samish will see more than $23.9 million for maintenance. The budget provides another $7 million for emergency repairs for ferries and $325,000 to improve the reservation system and reduce wait times.
“This money will get ferries back into service faster when there are problems and restore maximum service to our routes,” Ranker said. “As these projects are completed, commuters should enjoy better and better service in the months and years ahead.”
In addition, the budget adds $392,000 to expand the rail terminal in Mount Vernon and $25,000 to complete freight rail improvements along the Bellingham waterfront.