Hawkins gathers Senate transportation leaders for Confluence Parkway discussion

City of Wenatchee’s Mayor Frank Kuntz, LINK Transit’s Richard DeRock, and Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council’s Jeff Wilkens emphasize the importance of a second bridge across the Wenatchee River.

As transportation leaders in the Legislature move closer to releasing their transportation budget proposal during this year’s legislative session, 12th District Sen. Brad Hawkins today brought key leaders of the Senate Transportation Committee, their staff, and local officials together for an important discussion about the Confluence Parkway project in Wenatchee.

In addition to the expected supplemental budget proposal for this session, some lawmakers are discussing the possibility of also unveiling a new, additional set of transportation improvement projects. Hawkins, a member of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, wants the Confluence Parkway project to be in the mix.

“Legislators are getting closer and closer to developing the next statewide transportation investment package, so we need to communicate how important the Confluence Parkway is to our community’s future,” said Hawkins.

The meeting, held via Zoom, included Hawkins; new Senate Transportation Committee Chair Marko Liias, D-Everett; Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and Republican leader on the Senate Transportation Committee; Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz; Laura Merrill, executive services director for the city of Wenatchee; Jeff Wilkens, executive director of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council; Richard DeRock, general manager of LINK Transit; Kelly Simpson, senior staff coordinator and counsel for the Senate Transportation Committee; Jenna Forty, staff analyst for the Senate Transportation Committee; Hannah McCarty, senior transportation policy counsel to the Senate Democratic Caucus; and Martin Presley, transportation policy counsel for the Senate Republican Caucus.

“I’m grateful for the extended conversation today and for the many people who participated,” said Hawkins. “The timing was strategic in that discussions will likely take place in the coming weeks or months about identifying needed transportation projects in Washington. I want Senator Liias, the new chair of the Transportation Committee, to know how important this is to our valley.”

Liias assumed the role of Senate Transportation Committee chair following former Sen. Steve Hobbs’ appointment as Washington’s secretary of state.

The $134 million Confluence Parkway project would help mitigate the growing traffic challenges in north Wenatchee near the Wenatchee River. Funding includes $49 million from a recent federal grant, leaving $85 million needed to complete construction. The project includes a new roadway and new bridge connecting to the U.S. 2/97 interchange. Kuntz, DeRock and Wilkens highlighted the project in a PowerPoint presentation – click here.