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Auburn welcomes A-B Street corridor connector; grand opening to be announced

A new 1.47-mile route links A Street downtown to the 3.5-mile B Street Northwest corridor.

And soon a driver will be able to motor on this single road all the way from the Transit Station to 277th Street on the northern city limits.

The City of Auburn soon will announce a grand opening date.

Parking will be available at The Guesthouse Inn.

Plans show a three-lane road from 3rd Street to 10th, widening out into a four-lane road from 10th to 14th. The only traffic signal is at the intersection of 3rd and A Street. There will be sidewalks between 3rd Street Northwest, immediately west of the Auburn Post Office, and 14th Street Northwest.

City officials say the connector will improve access to the Post Office and facilitate the efficient movement of freight and goods.

The A-B Street corridor connector is a byproduct of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's 1994 Stampede Pass Rail Impact Study, one of four projects in Auburn designed to mitigate the opening of the rail line. The other three were the 3rd Street grade and 277th grade separation projects and the M Street grade separation.

(Grade separation places the road surface and the railroad tracks at different levels.)

The Stampede Pass line is a secondary BNSF line that starts in downtown Auburn and climbs over the Cascade Mountains. The BNSF in 1993 reopened the line with the intention of eventually improving the tunnel over the mountains so it could take double-stacked trains through. When that happens, the line will become a lot more busy.

When City engineers analyzed all the at-grade crossings and of all the slow moving trains making the turn and getting onto the pass line, it ended up with about eight minutes of blockage through the downtown.

The $9.7 million project includes $6.5 million from the federal government, $1.3 million in in-kind developer contributions and $400,000 from MultiCare.

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