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FHWA Reiterates Opposition to SOV Access at Island Crest Way

May 24, 2017 -At the close of business on Tuesday, May 23, the City received notice from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reiterating its opposition to future Single Occupant Vehicle (SOV) access to westbound I-90 at the Island Crest Way on-ramp. The Agency had previously issued an opinion on this matter in August 2016, which the City challenged.
As part of the Center Roadway closure on June 3, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) intends to convert the Island Crest Way (ICW) on-ramp to HOV-only. Although there are other regional examples of limited SOV access to existing HOV facilities, FHWA maintains these facilities are “grandfathered” or allowed only until new construction would require they be brought into compliance, and thus are not applicable to the ICW situation.
The City and Council are not giving up on SOV access to this critical highway ramp, and will be working with the State Congressional delegation to determine possible next steps.  The City plans to document the local street impacts as well as demand additional improvements to mitigate the local commute challenges expected after June 3.

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