Chelan PUD commissioners reviewed the City of Wenatchee’s updated plan to build Confluence Parkway, a 2.5-mile parkway that provides additional capacity for N. Wenatchee Avenue, and runs along the edge of Horan Natural Area and Confluence State Park.
“Confluence Parkway has been the region’s number one transportation priority for the past 10-plus years,” Mayor Frank Kuntz said. “The parkway would reduce traffic congestion, support a bus rapid transit system, and provide a third mode of access in and out of Wenatchee with a new bridge over the Wenatchee River. We thank the PUD commissioners for asking the tough questions to ensure the project analyzes all potential impacts and delivers net positive benefits for the valley.”
The City studied more than a dozen aspects of the project to determine potential impacts to surrounding areas, including the Apple Capital Loop Trail, Horan Nature Area and Confluence State Park. The PUD owns these areas as part of its license for Rock Island Hydro Project.
To reduce potential impacts to noise, safety, views and the ecosystem, the City proposed several measures, including upgrades to the Loop Trail (on the board audio recording at 00:07:47). The presentation showed artist renderings of the proposed changes, available on the City’s website at wenatcheewa.gov, under the “get involved” tab.
As for next steps, the City is planning to finish the environmental assessment this year. Then, the City will ask the PUD to provide a letter of concurrence that the project will have minimal impact to nearby properties after the proposed mitigations are met.
Also, following the completion of the project’s environmental assessment, the PUD would need to apply for an amendment to its license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to incorporate changes to Confluence State Park and the Horan Natural Area.
The commissioners directed staff to inform the community and gather feedback this spring about the proposed changes.
“I love going out to these meetings and learning and listening, and I look forward to that opportunity over the next few months,” said PUD Board President Steve McKenna.
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