WSDOT proposes to improve mobility on State Route 510 through the City of Yelm in northeast Thurston County. Over the past two decades, Yelm’s population has grown by over 200 percent, from 2,700 in 1998 to over 9,100 today. Traffic volumes in the City have increased by roughly 65 percent over the same period, with SR 510/SR 507 (Yelm Avenue) carrying over 23,000 vehicles per day. The corridor serves as the main street through Yelm, is an important freight route, and provides one of the region’s few alternative routes to I-5 in the vicinity of Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). Congestion in Yelm’s downtown core has become commonplace during weekday peak travel hours, as well as weekend afternoons during summer months. This congestion contributes to safety concerns, with over 500 crashes in the last five years on Yelm Avenue.
The purpose of the SR 510 Yelm Loop Project is to:
- Address transportation issues, including:
- Reduce congestion on Yelm Avenue.
- Reduce travel times within the business district.
- Improve traffic safety on Yelm Avenue by reducing congestion.
- Reduce travel times for regional and freight traffic through the City of Yelm.
- Provide multimodal facilities and improve transit reliability by addressing congestion.
- Support community goals, particularly by enhancing development opportunities in the business district associated with improved access.
- Improve system efficiency by improving connectivity, capitalizing on previous investments in Phase 1 of the Yelm Loop, and expanding resiliency to mitigate the loss of capacity on I-5 through JBLM during catastrophic events.
The project would make improvements to SR 510 as described:
- Construction of approximately three miles of new highway, composed of one travel lane in each direction between Cullens Road and SR 507 at 170th Street. The highway would be limited access between Cullens Road and 103rd Avenue, and managed access between 103rd Avenue and SR 507.
- Limited access means no driveways can connect directly to the highway, and intersections are limited to minimize the potential for delay.
- Managed access means driveway access is allowed but must be reviewed and approved by WSDOT and the local jurisdiction.
Typical cross-sections for the limited access and managed access portions of the Build Alternative are illustrated below:
- Construction of a shared use bicycle and pedestrian pathway on the eastbound side of the highway within the limited access portion of the Build Alternative with connections to neighborhoods along the highway and Longmire Park. The existing Yelm-Tenino trail would cross under the new highway.
- Construction of sidewalks and on-street bike lanes on both sides of the highway within the more urbanized managed access portion of the Build Alternative.
- Construction of a bridge over Yelm Creek.
- Construction of five intersections to provide connectivity between the Build Alternative and the local street network. Two of these intersections, 103rd Avenue and SR 507, already exist and would be reconfigured; the other three would be newly constructed. Three of the intersections would be built as roundabouts, two would include stop signs for side street traffic. These intersections are shown in the following figure.
- Conversion of four existing roadway locations to cul-de-sacs where they are intersected by the new highway. Converting local roads to cul-de-sacs reduces the number of intersections on the highway under the limited access designation. These locations are illustrated below.
- Construction of a noise wall on the south side of Yelm Loop between Crystal Springs Road and Rhoton Road. This noise wall will be located along the north side of the View Royale Neighborhood.
WSDOT plans to continue the engineering and environmental review through 2022. The project would be constructed using a Design Bid Build contract. Construction is currently planned to start summer 2023 and be completed early fall 2025.
For more information
To view a detailed description of the project, please see Chapter 2 of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (PDF 42MB).