Frequently Asked Questions
How will the project affect traffic and avoid causing new bottlenecks or congestion?
Pierce County plans to extend Canyon Road East to the north beyond where it currently ends at Pioneer Way East. The construction of a new bridge across the Puyallup River will improve access between River Road and the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor, providing improved route options out of the Puyallup River Valley for everyone. At the southern end of the project, construction of a new grade-separated rail crossing between 52nd Street East and Pioneer Way East will eliminate potential conflicts between vehicles and trains and reduce current delays on the roadways.
How will the new river crossing connect with local streets and ultimately, I-5?
Under the current design, the new grade-separation of the BNSF railroad, new bridges over Clarks Creek and the Puyallup River will connect Canyon Road East to the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor. The project will provide improved access to the Frederickson Industrial Area and maintain access to farmlands while increasing traffic flow. The project team is working closely with the City of Fife on connecting roadways. The city has made improvements to 70th Avenue East which, when combined with this project, will provide better connections to I-5 and the future SR 167 extension.
How will the project improve travel for freight?
The extension of Canyon Road East will provide an additional access point at the intersection of Pioneer Way East and Canyon Road East, redirecting some traffic from West Stewart Street, Meridian Avenue East, and Pioneer Way to the west. Construction of new bridges over the BNSF railroad and Puyallup River will improve access between River Road and the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor. The bridges will also have wider lanes and improved connections to support travel for larger trucks. With these additional and improved route options, traffic will be dispersed, and congestion and delays will decrease.
How will the project affect surrounding properties, and what will the County need to purchase?
The County currently plans to purchase property or easements from approximately 65 parcels. Most of these parcels are not full acquisitions, but the County will be impacting a small piece of the property. The County needs this property to build the new roadway, bridges, and drainage infrastructure, and perform the needed slope work to improve drainage and support flood control. As the design phase progresses, the County will provide updated information about property needs and will work with residents or businesses that are affected.
How will this project affect local farms?
Farmland is a vital part of our community and supports Pierce County’s economy, culture, and environment. We are committed to working with local farmers, agricultural groups, and regional stakeholders to minimize effects on agricultural lands. Of all the options studied for the Canyon Road project since its inception in the early 1990s, the County is designing and building the road alignment that has the least impacts to farms while minimizing impacts to homes in the area.
Under the current project design, the County plans to purchase 10.2 acres of land designated as Agricultural Resource Lands to extend Canyon Road East. This land is needed for the expanded roadway, drainage, and slope areas to improve drainage and support flood control.
The estimated property needs do not include any staging areas during construction or areas for mitigation as those locations have not been determined yet. Staging area effects will be temporary, and Pierce County will restore those areas to their current condition after construction is complete.
How will this project affect stormwater management, local wetlands and flooding conditions?
The project proposes constructing stormwater treatment and storage facilities, such as detention ponds, to manage and clean water that runs off the new roadway. Stormwater treatment and storage facilities allow for greater control of the rate water is discharged to natural drainage courses. The stormwater improvements will increase flood storage capacity and help prevent damage to farmland. Currently no such facilities exist in the project area south of the Puyallup River.
Plans also include increasing flood storage by designating additional areas along Canyon Creek as wetland mitigation, increasing culvert sizes and enhancing stream conveyance capacity. The project will re-establish about six acres of functional wetland, rehabilitate and enhance more than 10 acres of degraded wetland, and preserve more than six acres of intact wetland.
The project will also add new vegetation, reduce the amount of invasive plant species, increase the amount of native plant species and vegetative diversity, enhance stream channel conditions, and establish off-channel habitats in wetland areas adjacent to the creek.
How will this project incorporate active transportation (walking and biking)?
Active transportation is an integral part of the Canyon Road Connection Project. Pierce County will build sidewalks and paved shoulders along both sides of the new roadway. The new bridge over the Puyallup River will include construction of a new multi-use trail. The new bridge will also be built with enough clearance to accommodate any future trail underneath it on the north side of the river, such as the future planned Puyallup River trail between Tacoma and Puyallup.