The Canyon Road Regional Connection project will reduce congestion by creating more access, building a more efficient bridge, adding multimodal options, and creating a safer rail crossing.
Pierce County plans to extend Canyon Road East to the north beyond where it currently ends at Pioneer Way East. The project will provide improved access to the Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Area and maintain access to farmlands while improving traffic flow to the Port of Tacoma.
Under the current design, the new grade-separation of the BNSF Railroad, and the new bridges over Clarks Creek and the Puyallup River will connect Canyon Road East to the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor. The project team is working closely with the City of Fife on connecting roadways. The city has made improvements to 70th Avenue East which, when combined with this project, will provide better connections to I-5 and the future SR 167 extension.
A new bridge across the Puyallup River will improve access between River Road and the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor, providing improved route options out of the Puyallup River Valley for everyone. The project will remove the existing Milroy Bridge.
At the southern end of the project, a new grade-separated rail crossing between 52nd Street East and Pioneer Way East will eliminate potential conflicts between vehicles and trains and reduce current delays on the roadways.
The Canyon Road East freight corridor proposed improvements are expected to reduce travel time and miles traveled between freight origins and destinations by reducing congestion and providing more direct connections.
The Canyon Road Regional Connection Project will provide many benefits to the economy in Pierce County. It will provide a direct route for freight haulers delivering product between the Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center and the Port of Tacoma. It will also provide more direct routes for people commuting to and from job centers.
Pierce County commissioned an economic analysis in 2018 to learn more about the project’s benefits and impacts for businesses and communities in the area.
The following benefits were identified in the economic analysis report completed in 2018 (read the full report):
Provides an alternative north-south transportation route.
Supports thousands of new jobs by creating access to available land in the Frederickson area.
Cuts distances to destinations for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Decreases travel times and reduces transportation costs for goods.
Allows more people easier access to where they live, work and shop by improving a major commuter corridor.
Supports around 180 jobs and puts $25.3 million back into the economy through cost savings.
A new route from the Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center to other key industrial and economic centers will support new jobs in Frederickson and nearby jurisdictions.
The Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center and the Fife Industrial Area have significant capacity for additional employment. Canyon Road East freight corridor improvements would drive potential growth and expansion in these areas.
Businesses in the Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center make the most freight trips in the corridor south of SR 512, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council regional traffic model.
WSDOT’s Freight and Goods Transportation System (FGTS) shows more than 10 million tons are moved per year on the Canyon Road East section south of SR 512. The extension of Canyon Road East coupled with the completion of SR 167 will better connect the Frederickson Manufacturing Industrial Center to I-5, improving access to the Port of Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, and Tacoma’s industrial district.
Construction of a new crossing over the BNSF Railroad and Puyallup River bridge will improve access between the Puyallup River Valley and the City of Fife’s 70th Avenue corridor, reducing current delays on the roadways.
Less time in traffic means less money spent on fuel and the longer-term costs of mitigating pollution. Reduced traffic congestion will improve travel times on the region’s busiest streets, roads, and highways and contribute to the greater energy-efficiency of our county’s businesses.
Learn more about the Canyon Road Regional Connection Project economic benefits in the Pierce County-commissioned economic analysis.
The Canyon Road Regional Connection Project will invest in meaningful restoration and environmental improvements.
Pierce County will construct stormwater treatment facilities, such as detention ponds, to improve and protect water quality within Canyon Creek and other mitigation areas. Stormwater runoff from the roadway currently discharges into local streams and waterways untreated. The stormwater treatment facilities would clean all roadway runoff before it is released into the waterways and allow greater control of how quickly that water enters natural drainage systems. Currently no such facilities exist in the project area south of the Puyallup River. Learn more about how Pierce County manages stormwater and flooding.
Healthy wetlands can help reduce storm and flood damage by acting as a natural storage area for floodwaters. The project will rehabilitate several areas of wetland by reconnecting Canyon Creek to the floodplain and surrounding wetlands that have been otherwise isolated. The project will support the re-establishment and rehabilitation of these degraded wetlands and preserve remaining intact wetlands. These wetland mitigation efforts will contribute to improving water quality and habitat conditions.
Wetlands are critical for spawning fish populations. Plans for this project include removing and replacing impassable fish barrier culverts with fish-passable culverts, enhancing stream channel conditions, and establishing off-channel habitats in wetland areas adjacent to Canyon Creek. The project will also provide in-stream woody habitat structures and increase native vegetation, which will help provide shade and cooler stream waters for fish, including salmon.
Pierce County will build Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible sidewalks along both sides of the new roadway, creating new options for people using adaptive devices for transportation.
The new bridge over the Puyallup River will include construction of a new shared-used path. The bridge will be constructed high enough to accommodate any future trail underneath it on the north side of the river, such as a future extension of the Puyallup Riverwalk trail between Tacoma and Puyallup.
The project will construct multiple pedestrian crossings, including a signalized crossing on River Road East near the Puyallup River bridge. The bridge itself will have a shared-use path suspended below the roadway, creating a completely separated facility that eliminates potential traffic conflicts for people crossing the bridge.
We are committed to working with local farmers, agricultural groups, and regional stakeholders to minimize effects on agricultural lands. In the 1990s, Pierce County analyzed different road alignment options for the project in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Of all the options studied, the current project design alignment was selected since it had the fewest impacts to farms while minimizing impacts to homes in the area.
Under the current project design, the County plans to purchase 10.2 acres of land designated as Agricultural Resource Lands to extend Canyon Road East. This land is needed for the expanded roadway, drainage, and slope areas to improve drainage and support flood control.
Pierce County met regularly with the agricultural producers in the project area in 2019 and 2020. Together, we identified several possible solutions to refine the project’s design in a way that would help maintain the rural community aesthetic and ensure farm businesses continue to thrive. In late 2020, the Pierce County Agricultural Advisory Committee submitted a recommendation to the Pierce County Council that those solutions be incorporated into the project.