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State OKs road plans to handle extra traffic

A number of Plateau-area roads, including state Route 164, will be revamped this spring in anticipation of the June opening of the 20,000-seat Muckleshoot Indian Tribe's White River Amphitheater.

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently issued an access permit for the amphitheater, which sits on the outskirts of Enumclaw.

The permit grants access to and from the amphitheater at four locations between Southeast 400th Street and Southeast 408th Street.

"We believe traffic can be managed so people can get to the amphitheater safely," said Ron Pannnanen, deputy regional administrator for WSDOT in a release.

That view is not shared by members of Citizens for Safety and Environment, the Enumclaw-based citizen group that has fought the amphitheater project. CSE is continuing its battle, asserting the project will bring environmental damage, extensive traffic congestion, noise pollution and more.

As a condition of the permit, the Muckleshoot Tribe will help fund and construct improvements on state Route 164 at the amphitheater site, including left- and right-turn lanes at Southeast 400th, Southeast 404th and Southeast 408th streets. The tribe will also widen shoulders and add new street lighting. Issuing the access permits allows the tribe to complete construction of this work before the amphitheater opens.

Additionally, the tribe has agreed to a traffic management plan that features 780 free parking spaces at the Auburn SuperMall, shuttle service between the SuperMall and amphitheater, enforced no parking zones near the site, traffic control at nearby intersections and distribution of event schedules to amphitheater neighbors.

After the amphitheater opens, WSDOT will work with the Washington State Patrol, King County, the cities of Auburn and Enumclaw and the tribe to monitor conditions and make recommendations for improvements.

The cost for additional services will be handlled through the concert promoter who will levy a 1.8 percent tax on gross ticket sales at the amphitheater.

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