NO Burley Bridge

We are the Burley Lagoon Coalition.

WSDOT is studying the SR 302 corridor between SR16 and the Key Peninsula Highway. The goal of WSDOT is to determine what alternatives they will carry forward to the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) and ultimately determine which alternative route will be put into a Record Of Decision. Currently, the WSDOT is moving forward through the SEPA/NEPA scoping process with four alternatives for re-routing SR 302 located north of Gig Harbor, WA.

Two of the four remaining alternatives to be submitted into the EIS process include constructing expensive bridges across Burley Lagoon. Two alternative routes circumnavigate the lagoon and meet commuter needs at far lower costs. Public comments must be received by WSDOT between Jan. 2, 2009 and Feb. 13, 2009 to be included in the NEPA/SEPA scoping report.

Washington is the nation's leading producer of farmed oysters, clams and mussels. Steve Ringman of The Seattle Times, did an article about a local oyster farmer Jerry Yamashita. The article points out pollution in Henderson inlet. Jerry also farms and raises oysters in Burley Lagoon. Burley Lagoon used to be in a similar situation to Henderson Inlet. However, while not restricted, the Lagoon is listed as threatened once again (4/08 WSDOH). If that isn't enough to threaten Jerry's livelihood, now the Washington Dept of Transportation is threatening its health once again by threatening to build a bridge over the lagoon destroying the oyster beds, salmon, eagles and many many other habitants of the lagoon.
Click here for the article
Based on a number of community open houses sponsored by WSDOT, it is evident that these two bridge options are "very popular" by those currently serviced by the existing SR 302 corridor (especially commercial interests) and we sense that WSDOT and community business interests are leaning in the irresponsible direction of adopting one of these two expensive and environmentally damaging alternatives.

Burley Lagoon is home to a vibrant and diverse community of wildlife including spawning salmon, blue heron, bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey, oysters, seals, otters and many various endangered/monitored fish species.

ACT NOW, please contact WSDOT and tell them you do not want a Bridge crossing over the Burley Lagoon.

The Mission of the Burley Lagoon Coalition is to find a SR302 Alternative that is:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to use
  • Reduces congestion
  • Inexpensive to maintain, operate and expand
  • Likely to be built expeditiously
  • Financially feasible Without Tolls

We are reaching out to like minded individuals and organizations to make them aware of our cause and to solicit suggestions for how best to garner broader community support, ensuring that neither of these two bridge alternatives come to fruition.

Public comments must be received by Feb. 13, 2009 to be included in the scoping report. Comments will be addressed in the Scoping Summary Report available later this spring.

Any assistance spreading the word or advice on how best to proceed in our endeavor is greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Murray Payne
Burley Lagoon Coalition


Safety and congestion are two of the primary reasons this project is under consideration by WSDOT, so it's important to address them. We want to be able to explain how Alternatives #4 and #10 are less safe than Alternatives #6 and #7.
  • WSDOT has not thoroughly addressed congestion at the two proposed 144th interchanges. Increased, high density traffic use on 144th, especially with two schools, a bus depot, Park and Ride, etc would further put pedestrians, particularly children at risk, for injury or death.
  • Lingering Dense Fog is an ever present phenomenon on the lagoon, which would invariably lead to reduced visibility compared with the other alternatives, ultimately leading to more collisions and traffic related incidents.
  • It is far more difficult to route traffic during a traffic emergency on a bridge then it is on a non-bridge structure.
Fiscal responsibility should absolutely be considered when it comes to determining which alternative makes financial sense.
  • Not sound fiscal spending - the State of Washington is seriously looking at bridge alternatives that they project will cost in excess of $200 million. To do this when there are other alternatives that range from 20 million to 60 million is fiscally irresponsible.
  • The WSDOT Level 1 Alternatives Screening Report states in Chapter 7.0 that the cost of Alt. #4 is over $200 million more than Alternatives #6/#7. (Note: Alternative #10 wasn't included in the cost and performance analysis reports because of its late date for consideration).
  • WSDOT has focused on maximizing traffic flow through the new corridor, but has not given enough consideration to the negative traffic impacts on people and communities associated with heavy traffic increases on residential roads in and around the corridor.
  • Alternatives 4 and 10 are short sighted in that they don't take a broader look at future growth outside the targeted areas, whereas 6/7 are conducive to future growth and expandability impacting the overall effectiveness of the greater transportation plan for our area.
  • Even if a bridge is constructed, it would be a temporary measure and, ultimately, Spruce/Pine will have to be expanded to accommodate the projected growth rate North of Burley Lagoon.
  • Altering #6 or #7 to use DNR land would appear to be fiscally responsible and provide ingress/egress to any future regional park that may be planned for the area.
  • Altering #6 or #7 to come off hwy 16 with simply "fly overs", rather than skirting along Bethel/Burley, will reduce traffic congestion in Purdy and make it unnecessary to displace homeowners along that alignment.
  • Costs for mitigating noise pollution, light pollution and impermeable water runoff, especially from a bridge, have not been factored into the WSDOT estimated costs.
  • Costs for studying and mitigating the landslide and seismic activities associated with constructing a bridge across Burley Lagoon have not been factored and would likely result in an increased project cost.
Environmental Considerations
  • In WSDOT's own published Phase 1 Study, Chapter 5 finds that The Burley Lagoon Corridor Segment (Alternatives. #4 and #10) is the most environmentally sensitive option of all corridors studied. WSDOT's own data to promote Alternatives #6 and #7
  • 73% of saltwater marshland in Puget Sound has been filled in or otherwise eliminated. Alternatives #4 and #10 negatively impact Burley Lagoon which is a super sensitive saltwater marsh and estuary which is critical habitat for vibrant and diverse community of wildlife including heron, bald eagle, osprey, migratory birds, as well as various endangered/monitored fish species, and shellfish that are commercially harvested for human consumption.
  • Two schools already experience emissions and fumes every day from Highway 16. Adding an interchange (Alternative 4) would only compound and exasperate the traffic and bring more tainted air into the lungs of our children.
  • A bridge across a body of water will amplify noise exponentially affecting a larger swath of the community vs. Alternatives #6 and 7.
  • High emissions and noise resulting from increased traffic, especially with a bridge, would be extremely disruptive to adjacent neighborhoods and have dangerous health effects. The incremental traffic flows on residential roads within those neighborhoods would have a significant impact on the quality of life within those communities when compared with Alternatives #6 and #7.
Our suggestion is that WSDOT immediately withdraw Alternatives #4 and #10 from consideration and focus on a modification of Alternatives #6 and 7, skirting around the most sensitive areas and taking advantage of existing roads and right-of-way easements.
  • First and foremost, the more comments the better. At this stage is is very important to flood WSDOT with comments. They can range from detailed analyses of the environmental impact to handwritten "I don't want no bridge!" missives. The more, the better.
  • Include technical studies you think should be considered in the report, not just general policy considerations. For example, noting that any EIS should measure the impact of a highway expansion and bridge on migratory birds and citing studies on the birdlife in the area and a study on highway-related mortality would be one example. It would then be up to DOT to study whether these alternatives would actually impact the bird populations present in the area.
  • Point out the difference in environmental impacts occasioned by each alternative. For example: "Alternative A would require filling ten acres of wetlands, so we need Alternative B, which involves no filling."
  • Make sure scoping comments cover the full range of environmental impacts. For example, impacts on wildlife, water quality, traffic, air quality, greenhouse gases, etc.

Links and Contact
WSDOT SR302 Project Summary | WSDOT SR302 Public Comment Form | Blogspot | Contact Burley Lagoon Coalition
WSDOT and Decision Makers
John P. Donahue, P.E.
Project Manager
WSDOT Olympic Region Planning Office
P O Box 47440
Olympia, WA 98504-7440
Phone: 360-357-2788
Vicki Steigner, Project Advisor
WSDOT Olympic Region Planning Office
P O Box 47440
Olympia, WA 98504-7440
Phone: 360-357-2651
Megan White
Director, WSDOT Environmental Services
MS 47331
Olympia, WA 98504-7331
(360) 705-7480
Wendy McAbee
Area Engineer, Federal Highway Administration
711 S Capitol Way, Suite 501
Olympia, WA 98501
360-753- 9025
Others in the WSDOT Office
WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife
Daniel M. Mathis
Division Administrator
Sharon P. Love
Environmental Program Manager
Teresa Eturaspe
SEPA/NEPA Coordinator
Wash. Dept. Fish and Wildlife
(360) 902-2575
Michelle Tirhi
District Wildlife Biologist
Wash. Dept. Fish and Wildlife
Pierce and Thurston Counties
25644 44th Ave. S.
Kent, WA 98032
fax: 253-854-5251
phone:: 253-813-8906
Local Legislators
Rep. Larry Seaquist
Member of House Ways & Means Committee
317 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

District office:
3312 Rosedale Suite 101
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
(253) 858-1013
(360) 786-7802
Sen. Derek Kilmer
Member of Senate Transportation Committee
226 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40426
Olympia, WA 98504-0426
(360) 786-7650
(253) 858-6716
Transportation Committee Chairs
Rep. Judy Clibborn
435 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7926
Rep. Marko Liias
434 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7972
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen
305 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40410
Olympia, WA 98504-0410
(360) 786-7618
Sen. Chris Marr
417 Legislative Building
PO Box 40406
Olympia, WA 98504-040
6 (360) 786-7610
Ways and Means Committee Members
Committee Chair
also on Ways & Means Committee
Rep. Jeannie Darneille

436B Legislative Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7974
Committee Chair
Rep. Kelli Linville

204 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7854
Committee Chair
Senator Margarita Prentice

303 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40411
Olympia, WA 98504-0411
(360) 786-7616
Fax: (360) 786-1397
Ranking Minority Member
Senator Joseph Zarelli

204 Irv Newhouse Building
PO Box 40418
Olympia, WA 98504-0418
(360) 786-7634
Fax: (360) 786-7524
Vice Chair
Subcommittee on Capital Budget
also on Natural Resources, Ocean & Recreation
Senator Karen Fraser

404 Legislative Building
PO Box 40422
Olympia, WA 98504-0422
(360) 786-7642
Fax: (360) 786-1999
Vice Chair
Subcommittee on Operating Budget
Senator Rodney Tom

220 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40448
Olympia, WA 98504-0448
(360) 786-7694
Subcommittee on Capital Budget
also on General Government Appropriations Committee
Rep. Hans Dunshee

239 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7804
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Government Operations & Elections
WA Dept of Natural Resources
Committee Chair
also on Capital Budget Subcommittee
Rep. Brian Blake

304 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7870
Committee Chair
also on Ways & Means Committee
Senator Darlene Fairley

227 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40432
Olympia, WA 98504-0432
(360) 786-7662
Fax: (360) 786-1999
Peter Goldmark
Commissioner of Public Lands
1111 Washington Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501
P.O. Box 47007, Olympia, WA 98504-7007.
Aquatic Region
1111 Washington St. SE
PO Box 47001
Olympia, WA 98504-7001
Fax: 360-902-1775

Shoreline District
950 Farman Avenue N
Enumclaw, WA 98022-9282
(360) 825-1631

South Puget Sound
950 Farman Avenue N
Enumclaw, WA 98022-9282
Fax: 360-825-1672
Other Contacts
Greater Peninsula Conservancy
Sandra Staples-Bortner
People for Puget Sound

Main Office
911 Western Avenue, Suite 580
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 382-7007

South Sound Office (Olympia)
120 E Union Ave. Suite 204
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 754-9177

Alternative #4
After - if implemented
Alternative #10
After - if implemented