State Environmental Protection Act - La Center Interchange

Determination of Significance - An Adoption of Existing Environmental Documents

Description of current proposal:

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), City of La Center, and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (the “Tribe”) are collectively pursuing improvements to the Interstate 5 (I-5) Interchange at NW 319th Street/La Center Road, including modifications to frontage roads (Paradise Park Road and 31st Avenue), as well as a partial relocation of 319th Street (see Exhibit A for Figure 1 Regional Location and Figure 2 Project Site and Vicinity). These improvements are collectively referred to as the “Project” or “La Center Interchange Improvements”. The La Center Interchange Improvements are proposed pursuant to an Interchange Justification Report Process as provided for and regulated by 23 United States Code Sections 111,134,135 and 450.

The Project is needed to provide safe and efficient access to and from I‐5 given the anticipated increase in traffic and corresponding need for safety improvements due to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s planned resort and casino, as well as local and regional growth. Based on a detailed planning and operations analysis, the overall interchange project will include the following:

  • Construction of a new overpass structure located immediately south of the existing structure, which will accommodate four travel lanes and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Modification of the existing northbound and southbound interchange ramp terminals to include multiple (as many as four) lane roundabouts.
  • A modified northbound off-ramp that is lengthened and includes a second exit lane.
  • A modified southbound on-ramp that includes two receiving lanes off of the ramp terminal that transition to a single lane prior to merging with I-5 mainline traffic.
  • A partial relocation of Paradise Park Road and the development of a new intersection with NW La Center Road. This new intersection would be located approximately 450 feet (centerline-to-centerline) east of a northbound roundabout terminal to meet Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) guidelines for intersection spacing of 350 or more feet. The new intersection will operate as a two-way stop-control intersection in the near-term, and eventually need to be converted to a roundabout or traffic signal with future development.
  • Relocation of NW 319th Street approximately 350 feet south of the current alignment to accommodate the new overpass, and provide an enhanced east-west circulation network that is more compatible with the Cowlitz Reservation Development.
  • A partial relocation of NW 31st Avenue and the development of a new intersection with NW 319th Street. This new intersection would be located approximately 600 feet west of the southbound roundabout terminal to meet WSDOT intersection spacing guidelines. The new intersection will operate as a roundabout to accommodate near-term and long term traffic flow.

Proponent:

Salishan Mohegan, LLC, a Washington Limited Liability Company, and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe

Location of current proposal:

The Project is located at the existing I‐5/NW La Center Road 319th Street interchange along with portions of the adjacent frontage and related road network.

Title of documents being adopted:

EIS Required:

The lead agency has determined this proposal is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment. To meet the requirements of RCW 43. 21C.030 (2) (c), the lead agency is adopting the documents described above. Under WAC 197-11-360, there will be no additional scoping process for the EIS.

We have identified and adopted these documents as being appropriate for this proposal after independent review. The document meets our environmental review needs for the current proposal and will accompany the proposal to the decision maker. Nothing in this Determination of Significance shall be interpreted as amending or requiring reconsideration of the environmental analysis or conclusions in the above-listed documents.

Lead Agency:

La Center shall be the lead agency for SEPA compliance pursuant to this Notice of Adoption as it applies to those portions of the interchange reconstruction project that are within the municipal boundary of La Center. This includes but is not limited to relocation of Paradise Park Road including those portions of the road that are in La Center and in Clark County. See Washington Administrative Code 197-11-932.

Name of agency adopting document:

City of La Center

Contact person, if other than responsible official:

Jeff Sarvis - 360-263-7661

Responsible official:

The Honorable Jim Irish - 360-263-2782