Chelan County Commissioners back Cashmere

Railroad bridge may get funding

Chelan Douglas Transportation Council Executive Director Jeff Wilkens is pictured top left in photo as he speaks to members of the CDTC board last week at the Confluence Technology Center.

WENATCHEE -- A railroad bridge in Cashmere is the main competition for immediate funding instead of a previously priority-ranked interchange project at Hwy 150 and No See Um Road in Chelan. Olympia legislators will make the decision on which city gets what, if anything, later this week.
State Senator Brad Hawkins is intimately involved with the final outcome and has asked the CDTC for guidance.
That guidance came in the form of a letter from the Chelan County Commissioner's office to him urging him to consider the importance of the bridge and that it may be closed without the monies needed. Hawkins also received a letter from city of Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney pleading for about a quarter of a million dollars to finish the roundabout that has been on the drawing board for more than a decade. Cooney appeared at the board meeting March 9 and said the project was "weeks from turning dirt," but just in case the state DOT money is allocated elsewhere by legislators, the Chelan City Council has "stepped forward" and guaranteed the funding out of city coffers, he said.
The county commissioners' letter asked for funding for the West Cashmere Bridge Replacement Project due to its potential for facilitating "new industrial growth to the west side of Cashmere." Safety is also mentioned in the letter. The 85-year-old Goodwin Bridge is called "functionally obsolete and structurally deficient" in the letter signed by all three commissioners. The county troika sent a copy of their "Hawkins" letter to the CDTC.
The county leaders put the overall $23 million bridge project in the red to the tune of $7.5 million and are hoping to get about $5 million of that shortfall from Olympia.
The commissioners cite the bridge as being a "vital access point from Highway 2 to the Cashmere community for not only local motorists, but also freight traffic."
The CDTC, Chelan County Commission and city of Chelan all agreed on one thing. If the money doesn't go to No See Um, then it should stay in the 12th District and go to the Cashmere bridge replacement fund.
There were no Cashmere city officials present at the meeting for immediate comment. Keep reading the Cashmere Valley Record for a follow up story on this important issue with breaking news details available on our new and improved website.
"CCs" of the county commissioners letter were also sent to 12th District State Representatives Mike Steele and Cary Condotta.

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