Olympia’s west side is a regional shopping and services destination. Capital Mall, the surrounding commercial area and health care facilities including Capital Medical Center, all draw traffic from adjacent communities. The commercial and medical hub is served by one key interchange at Black Lake Boulevard/US 101.
The resulting traffic congestion raises concerns about how to maintain mobility to and through west Olympia in the future. The City has been working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and key stakeholders to improve access between US 101 and west Olympia.
After many years of planning, including several public workshops and open houses, the City and WSDOT have recommended that new highway ramps be constructed on US 101 at two locations:
- Kaiser Road: a westbound off-ramp and eastbound on-ramp.
- Yauger Way: an off-ramp extension in the westbound direction at Black Lake Boulevard that would connect to Yauger Way.
The process & next steps
Interchange Justification Report
The Interchange Justification Report (IJR) is a technical document that is required for any new connection to the state highway system. The report documents the traffic analysis, environmental impacts, and preliminary design of the improvements.
SEPA Environmental Checklist
The SEPA Environmental Checklist is an analysis of potential impacts to the environment associated with construction of the improvements.
View SEPA Environmental Checklist & supporting documents
Construction of the planned improvements is currently not funded. Following approval of the IJR and Environmental Assessment, the City will seek funding to prepare final design plans, purchase additional right-of-way, and construct the improvements.
Preliminary cost estimates based on the design variation indicate the project will require about $40 million (in 2015 dollars) to complete. Construction of the improvements may be more than ten years in the future due to the significant project cost. For this reason, the project may need to be built in phases.
In 2006, the City of Olympia and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) partnered on the West Olympia Access Study to determine what transportation system changes were needed to preserve future mobility and address chronic congestion at the US 101/Black Lake Boulevard interchange. The study was completed in 2010.
Learn more about the West Olympia Access Study
June 24, 2015 open house materials and public feedback
Below you will find information on the study including white papers and analysis, public meeting notices, data, maps, presentations, and other information.
Hybrid Alternative information
Phase 1 - Problem definition and initial public input
On May 4, 2010, the City Council indicated a preference to WSDOT to proceed with an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) on the Hybrid Alternative with a plan to phase in the improvements. View the Council staff report.
The Hybrid Alternative includes an eastbound on-ramp and a westbound off-ramp at Kaiser Road as Phase 1 (within 15 to 20 years) and an off-ramp extension in the westbound direction from Black Lake Boulevard to Yauger Way as Phase 2 (beyond 20 years).
WSDOT and the City have agreement on the final Technical Memo #4, published July 12, 2010, for the West Olympia Access Study that captures the final recommendations of the study. WSDOT is in agreement with the City to advance the Hybrid Alternative into the IJR process that includes Engineering and Operational Acceptability approval, environmental documentation and 30% design work. WSDOT has also agreed to consider phasing the Hybrid Alternative as recommended by the City. View an aerial map of the Hybrid Alternative.
Phase 2 - Scenario development, analysis, and public input
During Phase 1, background on the study area was compiled to support the development of various options for addressing mobility needs. The public was asked to help define the problems with Westside mobility and to provide input on a range of key principles that wee used to evaluate options later in the process.
Phase 3 - Interchange design conceptualization, analysis, and input
During Phase 2 various scenarios were developed and analyzed to determine whether local projects alone could address projected congestion issues. This analysis concluded that a "local only" strategy would not meet future mobility needs and that additional analysis of interchange options was warranted.
Phase 3 analysis focused on conceptual modifications to the Black Lake Boulevard / US 101 interchange and the Evergreen Parkway / US 101 interchange. The purpose of this analysis was to determine whether one interchange concept was demonstrably better than the other. Both interchange options demonstrated the ability to address future congestion issues and are potential candidates for additional study.
In preparation for the West Olympia Access Study a synthesis of previous studies was compiled. Baseline characteristics were described in a series of background reports that serve as a study reference. Taken together these reports provide relevant background on important considerations this study will address.
The Olympia City Council has received several updates on the West Olympia Access Study. Copies of the Council's briefing reports provide relevant background and updates on the study in a reader-friendly format.
- Briefing Paper for the Olympia City Council, February 13, 2007
- Olympia Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Briefing, April 23, 2008
- Study Area Map, BPAC Briefing, April 23, 2008
- Olympia City Council Status Report, May 13, 2008
- Olympia City Council Status Report, October 14, 2008
Comprehensive technical and modeling documentation was maintained throughout the study. These technical reports provide detailed background on assumptions, modeling methodologies, standards, and results. Note that they were written for a technical audience to meet very specific state and federal project documentation requirements.
- Technical Memorandum #1, Evaluation Methods and Screening, May 15, 2008
- Technical Memorandum #2, 2007 and 2030 Analysis, July 2, 2008
- Technical Memorandum #3, Traffic Operations and Analysis, November 10, 2008
- Technical Memorandum #4, Alternative Screeking Evaluation and Design Concept
On June 24, 2015, the City hosted an Open House to present information on the US 101/West Olympia Access Project, to obtain feedback from the public, and to begin scoping the environmental issues related to this project.
Contact Public Works Transportation at Transportation@ci.olympia.wa.us