Chelan PUD Considers Land Trade Along Confluence Parkway Project
Chelan PUD commissioners are considering a land exchange with the City of Wenatchee along the Confluence Parkway project.
The PUD would trade a five-acre long, narrow patch of land along the western edges of Horan Natural Area and Confluence State Park, which it owns, in exchange for roughly equivalent property from the City.
The utility's license to operate the Rock Island Dam is tied to its management of certain environmental and recreational areas and is overseen by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC). Those areas include Horan Natural Area and Confluence State Park.
The proposed agreement includes efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the road project, including the construction of a noise wall. Berms would also be built up with landscaping in areas where road noise is expected to be loudest.
The Apple Capital Loop Trail would also be improved by moving its path away from streets and railroad tracks.
A new pedestrian bridge across the Wenatchee River would be twice as wide as the existing bridge.
A news release from the PUD says the draft agreement also commits the city to reimburse the utility to relocate two water wells that support Confluence State Park, and replace state park staff housing that is in the path of the proposed roadway.
The city will cover most of the cost for the relocation of electrical transmission and distribution lines in coordination with roadway construction, according to the release.
The PUD held a public meeting Monday to discuss the project, where several people spoke in favor of Confluence Parkway.
Reduced traffic accidents, improved response times for first-responders, better options for bus and bike commuters, and improvements to the Loop Trail were cited as improvements that would result from the project.
The PUD Commissioners are expected to vote on the draft agreement at their next meeting on March 20, with approval also being required by the Wenatchee City Council.
In addition, the project will require approval from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Confluence Parkway will be the largest road infrastructure project in the City's history, both in scale and price, with an estimated total cost of $177 million.
About $92 million of the total cost will be paid through a federal Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant.
The remaining $85 million was included in the state's transportation budget last year.
East Wenatchee State Senator Brad Hawkins is working to ensure the project is specifically identified for allocation in the budget.
The project is slated to feature a 2.5-mile bypass at the north end of Wenatchee, which includes the construction of a new vehicle bridge over the Wenatchee River that will connect with U.S. Highways 2 & 97.