• New report paints bleak picture for some King County roads, bridges


    A new report set for release Wednesday paints a bleak picture about the condition of roads and bridges in parts of King County.

    • Dozens of roads, bridges could be closed over next 25 years
    • 16 structurally deficient bridges in King County 
    •  County is $250 million short for maintenance, repair
    • New taxes may be needed 

     A task force claims 35 bridges and 72 miles of road could be closed over the next 25 years due to their deteriorating condition.

     One of 16 structurally deficient bridges in King County is off Issaquah-Hobart Road where a 40-year-old bridge with wooden trusses over 15 Mile Creek is starting to rot.

    The bridge is an example of the issue facing the county concerning aging roads and bridges.

    Officials say roads and bridges in parts of unincorporated King County are suffering because of an enormous gap in funding.

    The task force estimates the county is $250 million short every year for the maintenance and repair of problem roads and bridges, which in many cases are in rural areas.

    One of the problems has been the growth of cities that are annexing more land from the county and taking away that tax revenue.

    The report lists more than 100 recommendations to address the issue, but the most effective measure, according to the task force, would be new taxes. Options could be a county-wide property tax increase or a motor vehicle excise tax where a portion of the funds would go specifically to maintaining roads and bridges in the county.

    Other options could include closing down some roads and bridges in rural areas or selling some of the roads to adjacent property owners for them to maintain.

    The report is going to the King County Council and executive for review.

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