Ground was broken Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the $160.7 million Mercer Corridor project in Washington State. With the help of $30 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new Mercer Corridor will bring long-awaited congestion relief, connect growing Seattle neighborhoods to transit centers and Interstate 5, and provide new facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“The Mercer project is bringing jobs to the Seattle area and boosting the region’s economy,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Seattle has waited decades for relief from congestion. Because of the Recovery Act, they will now be able to get where they need to go – by car, transit, bike or walking – more quickly and efficiently.”
The Mercer Corridor had been a regional problem for more than 40 years. The complicated, circuitous one-way routing system and the 80,000 vehicles that use it each day create gridlock throughout the entire region, limiting access to jobs, reducing opportunities for economic growth and slowing trade. The reconstructed and realigned Mercer Corridor will create a two-way boulevard, provide new sidewalks, improve connections to transit and add bicycle lanes.
The grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program included in the Recovery Act to promote innovative multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.
Of the more than $26.6 billion in Recovery highway dollars available nationwide, Washington received nearly $492 million for highways – excluding TIGER grants. As of Aug. 27, the state had funded 221 projects, with 73 projects under way and 131 completed.