The City of Lakewood received a $5.7 million grant from the Department of Defense to improve traffic circulation at Madigan Army Medical Center. Lakewood was one of eight successful applicants spread across the country that received a portion of the $300 million allocated by Congress for competition for transportation projects to improve access to military medical facilities affected by the most recent Base Realignment and Closure Commission round.
Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz said “this is a major step forward in the community’s support of JBLM. We are proud of the regional leadership role that Lakewood has played to help make this happen.”
Colonel Thomas Brittain, Joint Base Garrison Commander also noted that regional cooperation was critical in receiving the funding, and was complimentary of Lakewood in the process. Colonel Brittain stated “we're grateful to everyone involved, and to the city of Lakewood in particular, for their efforts to obtain DOD's approval for this important project. Joint Base Lewis-McChord has worked very closely with local, regional and state agencies to plan improvements to transportation infrastructure around the base. This project, when completed, will provide safer, smoother access to the joint base near Madigan Army Medical Center, improving access to this critical health care facility for beneficiaries while enhancing the flow of traffic in the area around the interchange. We look forward to continued cooperation with our neighbors as we confront shared challenges in our area."
The project relieves specific access and circulation issues that impede the provision of care at Madigan Army Medical Center. The improvements will alleviate congestion issues to Madigan throughout multiple peak hours of the morning, mid-day, and evening.
Safety is of paramount concern to WSDOT, JBLM, and the surrounding communities. This specific project proposal provides additional capacity for those accessing Madigan and significantly improves public safety by reducing congestion on the ramps to the I-5.
During a typical weekday the proposed project reduces the amount of total vehicular delay for the Berkeley Street corridor by over 662 hours.
Of the 1.4 million annual visitors to Madigan it is estimated that up to 50% or 700,000 patients, visitors, and patient care workers utilize the Berkeley Street interchange to access the facility. The existing Berkeley Street interchange at Freedom Bridge is a two-lane structure with one lane on-and-off ramps that do not provide sufficient capacity to meet demands especially during peak hours (morning, mid-day, and evening).
The agencies and service providers throughout the region were strongly behind this project. The South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Steering Committee at their meeting on September 30, 2011 unanimously approved the grant proposal submittal.