SEATTLE -- The federal government is stepping in to give WSDOT $73.6 million in new grant money to fix congestion and highway infrastructure issues across Puget Sound.
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, and six other lawmakers announced the grant for The Puget Sound Gateway Program on Monday.
One of the areas the grant money will focus on is relieving congestion in West Seattle, where the West Seattle Bridge has been shut down for 13 weeks.
“Freight movement and congestion have plagued Puget Sound for years and with the West Seattle bridge down, alternative routes for freight are an even bigger priority," said U.S. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat.
"The $73 million gateway program investment will establish an actual freight corridor along SR 167 and SR 509 to help agricultural products and manufactured goods get to port without going on I-5."
The grant will also help extend SR-509 in King County and SR-167 in Pierce County.
The extension of SR-509 will allow for a north-south alternative through Seattle and South King County, creating a southern access point to SeaTac Airport for passengers and air cargo.
This addition will also provide an alternative route to I-5 from West Seattle, which is needed with the current closure of the West Seattle Bridge.
Since Washington is a large agricultural hub for the country, lawmakers say they hope the grant will help make it easier to transport goods to places like the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
Currently the SR-509 extension project is expected to be done by the end of 2025.