Frequently Asked Questions
How will the project affect traffic and avoid causing new bottlenecks or congestion?
The Canyon Road Connection project will reduce congestion by creating more access, building a more efficient bridge, multimodal options, and creating a safer rail crossing.
- More access: Pierce County plans to extend Canyon Road East to the north beyond where it currently ends at Pioneer Way East.
- A more efficient bridge: 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.
- Safer, more effective rail crossing: At the southern end of the project, 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.
- Freight connections: The Canyon Road East freight corridor proposed improvements are expected to reduce travel time and miles traveled between freight origins and destinations by reducing congestion and providing more direct connections.
How will the new elevated river crossing connect with local streets and ultimately, I-5?
The elevated rail crossing will ease connections in the City of Fife 70th Avenue corridor and the Frederick Industrial Area.
- City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor: 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 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.
- Frederickson Industrial Area: The project will provide improved access to the Frederickson Industrial Area and maintain access to farmlands while increasing traffic flow.
How will the project affect local traffic in the project area?
- The improvements will create more direct, less congested routes for traffic to cross the Puyallup River, relieving pressure on local roadways caused by commuters taking shortcuts to avoid congestion.
- 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 elevated 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 project improve travel for freight and the economy?
- New connections: Most of the freight trips that use the Canyon Road East corridor come from King County and Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center (MIC), according to the Puget Sound Regional Council regional traffic model. With these additional and improved route options, traffic will be dispersed, and congestion and delays will decrease.
- Faster, more direct routes 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.
- New bridge and rail crossing: Construction of a new crossing over the BNSF railroad and Puyallup River bridge will improve access between the Puyallup River Valley and the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor, reducing current delays on the roadways.
- Saving money: Businesses won’t be the only ones saving time and money from congestion. Private drivers, who travel in the area for work or school, will likely see operating cost savings. According to the Office of Financial Management and DKS Associates, over the first 50 years of the project’s life, private drivers could collectively save $13 million.
Why does the County need to purchase properties, and how will it go about it?
The County needs property to build the new roadway, support the new bridge and improve the rail crossing, and improve drainage and support flood control.
The County currently plans to purchase parts of approximately 65 parcels for property or easements. As the design phase progress, the County will work with residents and business, while also providing information updates.
If you have a question about property acquisitions, please contact us here.
How will this project affect local farms?
- Minimizing effects: 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.
- Designating Agricultural Resource Lands: 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.
- Drainage: Healthy wetlands can help reduce storm and flood damage. These efforts will also increase the amount of flood storage capacity in the area. The project will also construct stormwater treatment and storage facilities, such as detention ponds, to manage and clean water that runs off the new roadway.
- Staging area impacts: 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 Canyon Road Regional Connection Project will invest in meaningful restoration and environmental improvements.
- Stormwater/flood management: 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.
- Water quality: Stormwater runoff from the roadway discharges into local streams and waterways, often untreated. This project constructs stormwater treatment facilities would treat all roadway runoff before it is released into the waterways, improving water quality conditions in areas where stormwater is currently not being treated.
- Wetlands restored: Healthy wetlands can help reduce storm and flood damage by acting as a natural storage area for floodwaters. Wetlands also improves water quality and provides habitat for wildlife, including fish. Plans include increasing flood storage by designating additional areas along Canyon Creek as wetland mitigation. 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. These wetland mitigation efforts will contribute to improving wetland functions for water quality, flood storage, and habitat conditions.
- Fish habitat improved: Habitat restoration is critical for improving fish populations and increasing spawning opportunities. The project will improve stream conveyance and water quality conditions. Plans include removing and replacing impassable fish barrier culverts to fish-passable culverts, enhancing stream channel conditions, and establishing off-channel habitats in wetland areas adjacent to Canyon Creek. The project will also provide in-stream woody habitat structures and increase native vegetation which will help provide shade and cooler stream waters. These improvements will help contribute to regional recovery efforts.
How will this project incorporate active transportation (walking and biking)?
Active transportation – such as bicyclists and pedestrians – 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. Also, the bridge’s clearance would 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.