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State shows plan for 410 intersection

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By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

The public got its first detailed look at the state's plan for state Route 410 between Buckley and Bonney Lake last week and the $25 million project is notably different than first envisioned.

Some elements are the same, like the widening of the highway to four lanes from 214th Street East to 234th along with an 8-foot divider separating eastbound and westbound traffic. But plans for the intersection of SR 410 and 234th have taken a dramatic turn during the last six months.

DOT representatives hosted an open house at Foothills Elementary Nov. 7, explaining a project that has been on hold for years to a crowd that filtered in over the course of three hours.

The stretch of 410 slices through the heart of Bonney Lake's Eastown neighborhood, the next region primed for development. Now home to an eclectic mix of large and small businesses, plus the occasional home, Eastown is awaiting an expansion of utility services and 410 improvements.

The Department of Transportation will be widening the highway from 214th to a point just past 234th, providing two, 11-foot lanes in each direction. Running down the middle will be a raised, 8-foot-wide median that will be planted with trees or shrubs. The median will eliminate random left turns, as motorists are accustomed to, instead limiting left turns to three designated areas. The specifics of where those breaks will be placed have not been finalized.

While the DOT has planned the project for years, the details surrounding the 234th intersection changed substantially about six months ago. The one element that has remained intact is the state's dedication to aligning the now-offset 234th and 233rd streets.

Initially, plans called for shifting 234th slightly to the east and extending the roadway north of 410 just to the side of an existing mini-mart, eventually connecting with 233rd.

The realization that wetlands would throw a wrench into the program caused DOT engineers to go back to the drawing board.

Plans now call for bending 234th slightly to the west, at the northern edge of the Sunset Meadows subdivision. The new road will scoot around an existing home at the corner of 234th and 410, aligning perfectly with 233rd. A short stretch of new road will branch off the new 234th and provide a second access point to the highway. The home now sitting at the corner of 234th and the highway will be encircled by the new roads.

Motorists traveling north on 234th and looking to head east will have the option of using either road.

DOT staffers said the bulk of 2008 will be used for further land acquisition and engineering, with the hope of taking bids for construction late in the year. It's hoped construction can begin in early 2009 and be completed during one construction season. If problems crop up, work could extend into 2010.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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