by Ralph Nichols

Burien long has wanted an interchange connecting State Route 518 with Des Moines Memorial Drive to improve access to businesses that, city officials hope, will move into the Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA).

Now an interchange from SR 509 to NERA, located under flight paths from Sea-Tac International Airport north to S. 138th St., is also under consideration.

Burien City Manager Mike Martin said recently that any interchange on SR 509 would provide access to the Northeast Redevelopment Area.

“No one has agreed to a 509 interchange,” Martin stressed. “This is just a concept. There are only draft plans (at the city) now.” And it’s not on any to-do list at the Washington State Department of Transportation or the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Both the Port of Seattle, which owns much of the property in the area, and the city anticipate business and commercial development here within a few years. Business parks, technology and light industry, and auto sales – perhaps an auto mall, to which dealers now on 1st Ave. S. would relocate, all could play a role in the economic development of the NERA.

“This property has been blighted by the second runway and now the third runway,” Martin said. “What we are doing (by planning for a new interchange) is trying to make NERA more accessible so we can put this property back into use.”

He added that the area “is large enough to accommodate small box stores and retailers of construction materials.” But the market will determine what kind of businesses locate here. In the meantime, “we need to prepare the area to be ready for certain types of activities.”

The cost of a new interchange, including planning, design and construction, has yet to be determined, Martin said. Most of the financing probably would come from federal and state funds.

So far, he’s talked with local state legislators, “who have received the idea very warmly.”

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

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