City Center Access Project

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Project Status

What have we done so far?

The City of Federal Way began studying options to ease congestion in the City Center in 2004. We evaluated 47 potential solutions, including local improvements and changing or building interchanges. At that time, most traffic flowed to and from I-5, which supported interchange changes. The City Council considered two solutions and a No Build Alternative, which they ultimately chose, putting the project on hold.

Below is a timeline of how we developed the current solution and our plan to recommend a preferred solution to City Council on November 5.

EARLY 2018

We identified the problem and relaunched the project.


We assessed a wide range of possible solutions to that problem.


We talked with members of the community about their experiences with congestion in the City Center and ideas for addressing the problem.


We evaluated how “local only” solutions* improve congestion in the City Center without revising access to I-5.

We concluded local only solutions alone would not solve the problem. We need to revise access to I-5 to improve City Center congestion.
*Local only solutions are projects in or near the study area that would not alter I-5 interchanges.

EARLY 2019 – FALL 2019

We eliminated the concepts of new interchanges at S 288th, S 296th, S 304th and S 336 Streets because:

  • They do not provide enough traffic relief compared to modified interchanges closer to the City Center
  • We identified safety issues with those additional interchange access points

We eliminated the concept of revised interchange access at S 312th Street because:

  • It would have operational impacts to Federal Way Link Extension light rail
  • It has high potential for impacts to Steel Lake Park and surrounding neighborhoods
  • I-5 access at S 312th Street lacks stakeholder acceptance
  • It does not directly serve the City Center Core
  • It adds an access point to I-5, which increases safety issues
  • It does not align with future plans to widen I-5 

We concluded a modified interchange at S 324th Street would reduce congestion in the City Center. We are continuing to study refinements to that solution.

Learn more about why we eliminated other concepts on the City of Federal Way’s website.

END OF 2019

The Federal Way City Council will vote to confirm a preferred solution.

Want to learn more about our study of possible solutions to City Center traffic? Click here to browse reports and resources.