By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe just got a huge break with traffic congestion.
For more than a decade, the city has planned a street to run parallel to U.S. 2 for local traffic to the shopping areas along the north side of the road.
The street, which was named Tjerne Place after former mayor Gordon Tjerne, was partially completed when Lowes was built, extending from Fred Meyer over to Chain Lake Road, where it comes out next to Ben Franklin.
But the money to push Tjerne Place all the way across town has never been found.
The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board has announced $114 million in grants to Washington cities for various transportation projects, and Monroe got three grants; two for street resurfacing, and one $3.2 million grant to complete all of Tjerne Place.
According to Monroe’s current Transportation Improvement Program, that should be more than three-quarters of what the Tjerne Place project will cost.
Tjerne Place is listed as the top priority project in the city, as it could take 10,000 cars a day off congested U.S. 2. It currently starts at Fred Meyer on Kelsey Street, and goes past Lowes. The extension will take it behind the Safeway shopping center to Woods Creek Road, where it will connect with Oak Road, which already runs behind the Albertson’s shopping center to Old Owen Road at the east side of town.
The cost of construction plus design is about $4.8 million. That means that Monroe will still have to find about $1 million to achieve the long-held goal.
The city also won $325,000 in grants to grind and overlay W. Main Street between the SR 522 roundabout and approximately 173rd Avenue, and to grind and overlay the northbound lanes of Fryelands Boulevard from 152nd to Wales.