Congressman Adam Smith joined Bellevue governmental officials Friday morning to celebrate transportation projects in the BelRed neighborhood.
Recently completed transporation projects – the widening of 120th Avenue Northeast and extending Northeast Fourth Street – and new projects, such as adding Northeast Spring Boulevard, a new road and widening other roads in BelRed, correspond with expected business growth and will relieve the traffic that future growth brings to the area.
Last year, REI announced plans to move their headquarters to The Spring District, which is located in the BelRed neighborhood, in 2020. The company estimates about 1,400 REI employees will work at the new headquarters.
When all is said and done, the city of Bellevue will have invested $327 million into the road improvements, Bellevue Mayor John Stokes said at the celebration.
“That’s a commitment to Bellevue’s future,” he said.
Several city staff were involved in making these projects a reality, however, Stokes credited Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace and U.S. Rep. Smith as the driving forces in the city’s ability to secure a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for $99.6 million with about 3 percent interest. That loan was secured earlier this year.
Other funding sources include local revitalization financing, a federal grant and a State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) grant.
The city is wrapping up widening 120th Avenue Northeast. With work starting in 2014, widening 120th between Northeast Third and 16th streets was accomplished in three phases and widening north of Northeast Eighth Street to Northeast 16th Street is near completion. The improvements include a new lane in each direction, new bike lakes, wider sidewalks and landscaping.
The Northeast Fourth Street extensions extended the road from 116th Avenue to 120th Avenue and was completed in 2015 with bike lanes, sidewalks and landscaping.
Construction on the first phase of Northeast Spring Boulevard is underway and will finish in early 2018. The second phase will then begin next year with several other zones beginning construction between 2018 and 2021. Northeast Spring Boulevard will be developed in coordination with Sound Transit’s East Link light rail and with Wright Runstad, the developer of The Spring District and REI headquarters.
Improvements in the 124th Avenue Northeast and 130th Avenue Northeast corridors will begin between 2018 and 2023 in different phases as well.
By 2030, the BelRed neighborhood is expected to provide 10,000 new jobs with 5,000 new housing units. Two Sound Transit stations for the East Link light rail station will be complete by 2023. And the area is expected to house approximately 20 percent of the city’s total employment.
For more information on the BelRed “transformation,” visit transportation.bellevuewa.gov/projects/belred-transformation.