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Gov. Gregoire celebrates Bremerton tunnel opening

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2009

BREMERTON – Gov. Chris Gregoire today joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks at the opening ceremony for the state Route 304 Bremerton Tunnel.

“This $54 million tunnel is worth celebrating because now drivers and pedestrians alike can count on a safe and quick commute,” Gregoire said. “The project also created Washington jobs for the past two years. The completed tunnel embodies the renewed spirit of progress and hope that can be witnessed all across our great state.”

More than 2 million people travel to Bremerton by ferry each year, which adds heavily to local congestion. To fix overcrowding on the Bremerton waterfront caused by pedestrian, transit, local and ferry traffic, Dicks helped secure federal funding for the project. Construction on the tunnel broke ground exactly two years ago.

“This is a valuable component of a larger effort to revitalize downtown Bremerton, reduce traffic congestion and make the city more pedestrian-friendly,” said state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “This is a transformational move that will increase foot traffic downtown. That should mean more shoppers downtown and more vitality for local businesses.”

With many federally funded projects such as the SR 304 tunnel under way in the state, Washington is experiencing the largest transportation construction cycle in its history. “With the U.S. Department of Transportation as a partner, we’re ready to get to work building infrastructure to compete in a 21st century economy,” Gregoire said.