The Potato Hill Bridge project was a replacement of an overpass over Interstate 90 in Moses Lake, Washington to increase its height to accommodate freight trucks using I-90 between Ephrata and Moses Lake. The project ended a 40-mile truck detour.
Project Type:Bridge Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:4,920 Length (mi):0.09
Economic Distress:1.41 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):30 Population Growth Rate (%):1.32
Employment Growth Rate (%):1.08 Market Size:16,390 Airport Travel Distance:45 Topography:16
Region:Rocky Mountain / Far West State:WA County:County
City:Moses Lake Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:47.102695 / -119.278644
Initial Study Date:N/A Post Constr. Study Date:2008
Constr. Start Date:2006 Constr. End Date:2006
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):4,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):3,250,000 Actual Cost (curr $):3,470,906
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
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NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
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The Potato Hill Bridge project involved the replacement of an overpass over Interstate 90 in Moses Lake, Washington. The project, completed in December of 2006, raised the last of ten I-90 overpasses in central Washington that were under-height for some freight traffic. The new bridge allows all trucks to use I-90 between Ephrata and Moses Lake, ending a 40-mile truck detour, eliminating truck collisions with the bridge, and reducing maintenance costs on the detour routes. The bridge included amenities for the local resident population such as pedestrian access and a more aesthetically please structure. The bridge also improved traffic safety due to the straightening of the former S-curve entrance to the bridge. The project construction cost roughly $3.25 million ($ 2006). No economic development impacts can be attributed to the bridge reconstruction. City-wide property values have increased substantially since construction of the bridge, and new high-end residential development has occurred adjacent to the bridge. The investment in the bridge has supported this development, but is not responsible for it.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Potato Hill Bridge is an overpass over I-90, in Moses Lake, Washington, a city in Grant Country approximately 170 miles east of Seattle. I?90 originates in Seattle and extends east to Spokane. From there, the highway leaves Washington and heads east across the country through Montana and South Dakota, connecting to Chicago, Illinois, Buffalo and Albany, New York, and Boston. It is the longest interstate highway in the country and is the primary east-west highway in the northern United States. The Potato Hill Bridge connects Potato Hill Road and South Division Street in Moses Lake.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Moses Lake is the largest city in Grant County Washington, with a 2000 population of 14,953. The population of Moses Lake in 2008 was estimated to be 18,800, an increase of approximately 25%.
Until around 1940, the area of Moses Lake was very rural. The construction of Larson Air Force Base and the Grand Coulee Dam resulted in economy growth in the 1940's, and by 1950 the city had a population of around 2,700 (up from 301 in 1940). The completion of the Columbia River Basin project increased the area's potential for irrigation, causing a boom in agricultural crops such as potatoes, corn, onions, carrots and sugar beets. Agriculture remains prominent industry. In more recent years, relatively cheap energy and land have drawn technology and manufacturing industries to the area. Large silicon chip manufacturers like REC Silicon have constructed facilities, while technology companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo have built server facilities in the region. Moses Lake is also a destination for travelers, with the lake recently anointed the ?Watersports Capital of the Northwest.?
The Potato Hill Bridge project involved the replacement of the existing Potato Hill Bridge, an I-90 overpass to increase clearance under the bridge. The primary purpose of the project was to improve I-90 as a freight route, eliminating the 40-mile detour that many trucks had to take to avoid the Potato Hill Bridge. The Potato Hill Bridge was the last of ten under-height bridges to be replaced along I-90 from Georges Lake to Moses Lake, allowing for un-interrupted freight traffic along I-90 in mid-central Washington. The bridge was designed for pedestrian access, and was designed to easily accommodate added capacity as growth in the county occurs.
The construction of the bridge cost a total of about $3.25 million, in nominal (2006) dollars, with the majority coming from the Nickel Fund, a state program funded by a gas tax. Another $750,000 came from the state Transportation Partnership Program, and was designated specifically to accommodate a pedestrian/bike crossing of I-90 as part of the new Potato Hill Bridge. The City of Moses Lake contributed $23,000 in local funding. Furthermore, the Potato Hill Bridge is the dividing line between the city and county.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
The new Potato Hill Bridge, completed in December of 2006, has allowed the majority of I-90 freight traffic to remain on the highway. Previously, this traffic was detoured through Ephrata and Moses Lake. The bridge has eliminated truck collisions with the previously under-height bridge. In addition, removing trucks from the detour routes ? State Routes 17, 28, 282, and 283 - has improved safety, reduced congestion and improved traffic flow on those routes. In 2009, the average annual daily traffic (AADT) count on the bridge was 4,900 vehicles. AADT on I-90 at the bridge totals 10,000. The new bridge has reduced maintenance costs for the detour routes by reducing heavy truck traffic.
The bridge has reduced the amount of truck traffic in Moses Lake. Prior to the bridge's construction, trucks had to exit I-90 at exit 176, drive through downtown Moses Lake and re-enter the highway at exit 179. Today, only trucks serving local businesses enter the downtown. Construction of the new bridge also eliminated former 'S' curves which connected the roundabout to the bridge, improving safety for vehicles using the interchange.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
There have been no measurable economic development impacts resulting from the redesign and reconstruction of the Potato Hill Bridge, primarily because it has not changed access within Moses Lake. Property values in the city have increased and some new residential developments have been constructed adjacent to the new bridge. This development is supported by the new roundabout and bridge amenities, but cannot be attributed directly the bridge investment.
The 2008-2010 economic recession has slowed development in Moses Lake. The bridge improvements may have some economic impact when the economy begins to recover.
American Fact Finder, 2000 and 1990 US Census http://factfinder.census.gov
Washington State Department of Transportation, Project Information ? I-90 ? Replaces Potato Hill Bridgehttp://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I90/PotatoHillBridgeReplacement/default.htm
Washington State University, Washington Center for Real Estate Research, Washington State Housing Market,http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/WSHM/WSHM.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Lake,_Washington http://www.grantedc.com/index.html http://www.city-data.com/city/Moses-Lake-Washington.html
OrganizationGrant County Economic Development Corporation Lake Chamber of Commerce Moses Lake Public Works Washington Department of Transportation Washington State Senate