Olympia – Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, wants the state to speed up improvements to one of the most congested and dangerous interchanges in the state, where State Route 18 meets Interstate 90.

A redesign of the intersection has been approved but completion of the project isn’t expected until 2028, Mullet feels that isn’t soon enough to address a serious public safety issue.

Mullet sent a letter Tuesday to the chairs of the Senate and House transportation committees urging them to accelerate the timing of the project so production of the new interchange can start this year instead of 2023.

“Anyone who travels this section of I-90 knows how maddening the gridlock and traffic can be,” said Mullet. “But it’s more than just a nuisance. It’s flat out dangerous. Cars are illegally cutting lines and making risky U-turns. We need to take action now to get traffic moving again in this area.”

The location of the SR 18 and I-90 interchange is in the heart of the 5th Legislative District that Sen. Mullet represents. Between 2000 and 2010, the 5th district was the second fastest growing district in the state. Many of the surrounding cities have grown by more than 20 percent in the past decade. Mullet says traffic is only going to get worse as the population continues to grow.

“Moving the start date up on this project also makes fiscal sense,” added Mullet. “The gridlock in this area is hampering commerce and hurting Washington’s businesses — specifically freight travelling from Eastern Washington to our ports. Also, because of all the accidents and illegal traffic maneuvers, the state is paying more to the Washington State Patrol for their services in the area. Resolving this problem now is the responsible thing to do.”

Sen. Mullet also noted that accelerating the project would enable the state to take advantage of better interest rates that are available right now and complete the project for less money.