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Proposed access road could ease event traffic in Maple Valley

The city of Maple Valley is considering constructing an emergency access road between housing developments that could help ease traffic during events at Lake Wilderness Park.

The emergency access road would connect Southeast 260th Street in Kate’s Ridge to the corner of Southeast 260th Street and 230th Avenue Southeast which serves the Lake Wilderness Shores and Wilderness Hills neighborhoods.

The reason, city officials said, is because currently Lake Wilderness Shores and Wilderness Hills are both served by Southeast 260th which turns into 230th, which, ultimately dead ends —meaning that there is only one point of entrance and exit for the approximately 122 lots in those developments.

City staff brought the issue and the proposed emergency road solution to the City Council on Monday night.

The proposed road would be gravel and 22 feet wide. Access gates at each end would be locked and prohibit traffic on the road on most days. In the case of an emergency that blocked access to Lake Wilderness Shores and Wilderness Hills, the gates could be opened and residents could get to and from their homes.

City Engineer David Casey said Maple Valley police, fire, and the city’s Public Works Department would have keys to the locks. The estimated cost of the project is about $20,000.

The plan has been endorsed by both Police Chief Michelle Bennett and Fire Marshal Scott Webster.

Both noted in their endorsements that the additional access would benefit first responders as well as property owners and the general public.

Mayor Bill Allison noted during the meeting that approximately five years ago there was an accident on that road that did block access for residents.

“It’s something we have been thinking about and mulled about for a very long time,” Casey told council.

Casey also estimated there are approximately 10-12 trees that will need to be cut down for the project.

“We want to keep it (the road) as small as possible to meet the needs for emergency ingress/egress and then have it open on the days we have events,” he said.

At the meeting staff was looking for direction to send a letter to the nearby property owners and homeowner’s associations, telling them of the project. Councilwoman Linda Johnson, however, objected to simply telling residents what was going to be done and urged the city to ask for feedback before beginning the project.

“I think what we’re wanting to do is perfectly appropriate,” Johnson said. “I’m sorry we didn’t think about this sooner so we could have more discussion. I prefer to tell the residents ‘this is what we’d like to do, give us your feedback.”

Councilman Noel Gerken also said that he supported getting feedback from the affected residents.

Originally staffs’ goal had been to complete the project in time for Maple Valley Days, but in light of the council’s comments and discussions it was decided that a community meeting should be held.

“We’ll move as quickly as we can,” Casey told council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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