Anyone who has experienced a rush hour commute in or out of Sumner knows that Traffic Avenue is the most appropriately-named road in the entire county. A five-lane thoroughfare feeding into Sumner and Puyallup’s downtowns suddenly merges down to just two lanes as it traverses a 50-year-old bridge above Highway 410, creating long bottlenecks in both directions.
Rush-hour congestion on the main arterial connecting the small Pierce County city to points beyond, the aptly named Traffic Avenue, has gotten so bad city leaders have embarked on an effort to get the Legislature to do something about it.
They’ve made securing money for the Traffic Avenue/East Main Avenue interchange with state Route 410 the top priority of their legislative agenda for 2016.
Indeed, I have been meeting regularly with Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow and his staff at city hall over the past several months to develop a plan to tackle this growing need. And in a recent interview with The News Tribune, I explained that this project is one of my top priorities for the 2016 Legislative Session, which began last week:
Legislators representing the 31st District, which includes Sumner, are sympathetic.
“It’s definitely a chokepoint,” state Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, told The News Tribune last week.
Stokesbary said he’s spoken to city officials, business leaders and others who are interested in presenting a united front and maybe raising some money themselves to get things rolling.
“Even if you can shave off 5-10 minutes that you’re sitting on Traffic Avenue waiting to cross the bridge, that’s a lot of extra time to spend with your family,” he said.
Although this year’s legislative session is only scheduled to last 60 days, I am optimistic that we can persuade my House and Senate colleagues of the critical regional importance this project holds.