Confluence Parkway Snubbed from "Move Ahead Washington" Plan


Photos submitted by Sen. Brad Hawkins 2022 CDTC: Screenshot of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council’s 2022 Transportation Funding Priorities. Confluence Parkway: Map of the proposed Confluence Parkway Plan.

Media outlets outside of North Central Washington are taking notice of the state's perceived disregard for the 12th district, specifically for their dismissal of the Confluence Parkway plan that was proposed to be funded by the "Move Ahead Washington plan."

The "Move Ahead Washington" plan is a $16 billion budget for a 16-year transportation plan. The absence of the plan surprised Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz.

"Obviously we were disappointed. We've been working really hard to find a final piece of funding for our project," Kuntz explained. "We just anticipated that the state would be the final participant in it. Obviously it wasn't this time."

The proposed Confluence Parkway plan would include an additional access point connecting Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, reducing the bottleneck effect of North Wenatchee Ave. The plan would help serve approximately 40k-60k cars per day, give better access to emergency service vehicles, and provide direct connection to the US 97A - US 2 Interchange and Odabashian Bridge.

The City of Wenatchee partnered with the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council to develop the North Wenatchee Transportation plan back in 2011. The city proposed that the state provide $85 million, which would be added with the city's $10 million contribution and over $49 million of federal funds.

"I think there's 'a stick to our guns' aspect to this, but that doesn't mean that there can't be little concessions made here and there," Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council Director Jeff Wilkens explained. "The $85 million we've asked for Confluence Parkway is a lot of money for us locally, but in the scope of the $16 billion bill, it's not huge."

Wenatchee has not had a new access path since the construction of the Richard Odabashian Bridge of 1975. Kuntz references multiple studies from the 1990s that express a dire need for new access routes.

"The state has managed to fund other little portions of other projects in our area, but have never funded our no. 1 priority, which has been the Parkway," Kuntz said.

However, neither Kuntz nor Wilkens have given up on the project. Wilkens recalls the Eastmont extension of the Odabashian Bridge back in 2009 that was funded through a similar process to the Confluence Parkway project.

"The game's not over until the fourth quarter and there's no more seconds left on the clock, so we haven't given up," Kuntz remarked. "We might be currently behind the game, but we haven't given up and we're gonna keep telling our story and hopefully it resonates in the right spots."

Sen. Brad Hawkins had voted against the "Move Ahead Washington" in the Transportation Committee and the following Senate session, claiming that the plan "leaves a gigantic donut hole in the center of the state."

Hawkins proposed two separate amendments that could be added to the plan: one to add the Confluence Parkway proposal along with improving North Wenatchee Avenue, funding the Wenatchi Landing Interchange, US 2 Safety Improvements in Leavenworth, and improving the US 2 Roundabout at Icicle Road in Leavenworth. The other option was for the state to only fund the Confluence Parkway proposal. Both amendments were voted down.

 

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