WSDOT proposes weigh station near Snoqualmie Pass; North Bend opposes

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More than a year after the city of North Bend, Wash., passed an ordinance banning future development of truck parking in an area in dire need of parking spaces, the Washington State Department of Transportation has proposed a new weigh station with more parking near the city. North Bend city officials have expressed opposition.

Currently, a weigh station is located in the northwest quadrant of the Interstate 90/state Route 18 interchange for trucks headed eastbound on SR 18 and westbound on I-90. According to WSDOT documents, eastbound SR 18 trucks going to eastbound I-90 have to travel through both ramp terminals intersections twice (once to enter the weigh station and once to exit the weigh station) in order to use the weigh station. With little queuing space or truck storage and no weigh-in-motion facilities, truck traffic reduces the efficiency of the interchange.

WSDOT has identified the need for a weigh station that will serve trucks traveling eastbound on I-90. Proposed locations:

  • East of Winery Road interchange (MP 28.4)
  • Between 436th Avenue interchange and 468th Avenue interchange (MP 33.5)
  • Between 468th Avenue interchange and Homestead Valley Rd. interchange (MP 36.2)
  • Between the Homestead Valley Road interchanges (MP 38.8)
  • West of Bullfrog Road interchange (MP 80.3)

Costs for each potential location vary, ranging from as low as $16.7 million for the 436th Avenue/468th Avenue site to $118.5 million for the 468th Avenue/Homestead Valley Road site. WSDOT recommends moving forward with the 436th Avenue/468th Avenue option.

To the interest of truckers, WSDOT mentioned in its site investigation the desire to include more truck parking at a new location in the event inclement weather closes the pass. WSDOT’s criteria for a new weigh station include a minimum of 20 truck parking spots. The site at milepost 33.5 can accommodate 35-70 truck parking stalls. In fact, among the five options, the 436th Avenue/468th Avenue site offers the most parking.

A complete lack of parking in the area has been the center of heated debate between truckers and North Bend. Not only has North Bend refused to allow its existing truck stop to expand, but the city has also passed an ordinance that will prevent new truck parking of any kind from being built in the city.

According to a report from Living Snoqualmie, North Bend is opposed to the proposed location, citing issues with the design and size. City Administrator Londi Lindell told Living Snoqualmie that WSDOT is essentially proposing a truck stop since its larger size will accommodate more trucks to park.

North Bend prefers the new location to be at the site between the Homestead Valley Road interchanges at milepost 38.8. However, the estimated cost of that site can be nearly six times more expensive than the one at milepost 33.5. Furthermore, WSDOT wants the new location to be east of the I-90/SR 18 interchange but no further east than milepost 38 to avoid additional costs that come from freezing temperatures.

According to a North Bend zoning map, the city’s limit stops at I-90. Anything north of I-90 is North Bend. Areas just south of I-90 are an urban growth area but are unincorporated.

The Growth Management Act limits the territory that a city may annex to that which lies within its urban growth area. Cities have no jurisdiction or authority in the unincorporated areas, according to the city of Lynwood. In order to annex urban growth areas into the city limits, the process must be a coordinated effort by the county and affected cities. According to a North Bend senior planner, the city has no plans to annex the area.

New technology will be installed in the new weigh station, including Innovative Technology Deployment. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, ITD focuses safety enforcement on high-risk operators, increasing the efficiency and expedition at weigh stations.

WSDOT anticipates an increase in truck traffic in the state of 40 percent to 60 percent by 2030. With nearby states allowing larger truck size and load restrictions, a weigh station accommodating larger trucks is needed.

Plans for the weigh station can drastically change as they are still in the early stages. According to WSDOT, a consultant will be hired in November to assess current options and potential new options. Public engagement should begin sometime around Spring 2018.

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