This is a rendering of a proposed roundabout at the south Interstate 90 interchange. The project is on hold while state funding questions are resolved.

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As the battle rages over whether or not Initiative 976 limiting car tab fees is constitutional, the Washington State Department of Transportation has shelved any projects that are in the planning phase or have not yet begun.

Although the stoppage does not affect projects that are already under construction, such as bridge replacement work in Upper County, it does hold at least temporary ramifications for two projects in Kittitas County. The next phase of the Interstate 90 wildlife corridor project in Upper County, as well as the planned construction of a roundabout at the eastbound Interstate 90 onramp at Canyon Road will be put on hold.

WSDOT Communications Manager David Mosely said the pause has been ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee, and that the department is waiting for the next legislative session to determine what will be possible for the proposed construction plans.

“As we get closer to the legislative session in mid-March, we should know more about what the status is for the paused projects,” he said.

Mosely said leading up to the pause, the department completed the preliminary planning and design process for the roundabout project. If and when the pause is lifted, the project will be at a place where it can be advertised and enter the construction bidding phase. Before the pause, the project was slated to begin construction in summer 2020.

“That’s one of the side effects of the pause is we cannot go towards construction,” Mosely said.

Mosely said the Upper County work on Interstate 90 is in a similar situation, where preliminary planning had been completed, but because the project had not entered the construction bidding phase prior to the stop order, it is now on hold as well.

“It fell under the same parameters of the pause as set forth by the governor,” he said. “That project is paused until we find out whether or not we can go ahead and build. That’s all part of what we’re waiting for the legislation to come forward and let us know what’s next in regards to the paused projects around the state.”

Despite not having clear knowledge of the path forward regarding the two projects, Mosely said the department is optimistic that they will be able to move forward once the details are hashed out in the legislature.

“We are still planning it,” he said. “We are still anticipating moving forward on it. We just don’t know when and how that’s going to work at this time.”


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