New Rhodes Lake Road East: A Milestone in Transportation and Development

New Rhodes Lake Road East: A Milestone in Transportation and Development

Bryan Dominique
Pierce County Council Communications Manager

Pierce County has been actively encouraging economic development and completing the New Rhodes Lake Road East corridor is a crucial element in this vision.

“Pierce County started planning the Rhodes Lake Road East in the 1990s,” said Pierce County Councilmember Dave Morell (District 1), whose district includes significant portions of the project. “We had a President named Bill Clinton in office; Doug Sutherland was our [County Executive]. This project, this road, has been studied for almost 30 years, and in 2008, the County Council adopted the County Engineer’s official establishment of the Rhodes Lake Road corridor.”

After years of planning, the long-awaited New Rhodes Lake Road East corridor construction has finally begun in Bonney Lake, with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, July 6.

With a budget of $150 million and an expected completion timeframe in the Spring of 2027, the project aims to connect the Bonney Lake Plateau with the Orting Valley, including the cities of Puyallup, Sumner and Buckley.

With the improved transportation infrastructure provided by the new road, the County also hopes to attract businesses, potentially creating an estimated 6,000 new jobs and boosting the local economy as it facilitates the efficient movement of goods, services, and employees within the region.

“I’m excited today to be here and see something happen on this project, said Morell in comments at the groundbreaking. “We have about four years of construction on this project, and the benefits will be plentiful.”

Connecting the Region

In addition, the project includes a 13-foot bike and walking trail alongside the road. The trail will enhance the safety and accessibility of non-motorized transportation and connect the existing Foothills Trail in the Orting/Puyallup Valley to more recreational opportunities.

Construction is planned out in four segments, with one element featuring a new bridge over the Puyallup River to accommodate two eastbound lanes while the existing bridge serves westbound traffic.

The safety aspect of the project was well represented at the groundbreaking ceremony, with local school superintendents and principals, local police and fire chiefs, and other community leaders involved in the project present for the event.

Safety and Economy

Many communities in Pierce County are at risk of severe impacts from a Lahar – a mixture of water and rock fragments that flows down the slopes of a volcano – if Mt. Rainier, an active volcano, erupts. There is a much greater risk of this in Orting and the surrounding valley. With its direct connections to major highways, the new road will help residents evacuate the area in the event of an eruption.

Equally important, however, is the role the project plays in economic development. This road aims to serve as a catalyst for attracting businesses, creating job opportunities, and promoting prosperity with its connectivity to neighboring communities.

“As the project progresses, it brings optimism for a brighter future for the residents, businesses, and visitors of Bonney Lake and the surrounding areas,” said Morell.