The North Lewis County Industrial Access (NLCIA) project is developing strategies to stimulate industrial development that creates 1,000 new family-wage manufacturing jobs in Lewis County by 2030 with at least half of those occurring by 2020, all while enriching the economy, environment, and overall quality of life in north Lewis and south Thurston Counties. The project is exploring strategies that increase access to industrial properties and improve system-wide mobility of people and goods while ensuring the transportation system is safe and efficient to operate as well as strategies that remove barriers or incentivize compatible industrial development.
The NLCIA study is investigating and developing partnerships, policies and projects that will facilitate access to industrial properties in north Lewis County or otherwise increase the attractiveness of industrial growth. The study is looking at alternative routes utilizing existing interchanges, existing local roadway improvements, and the feasibility of a new interchange between Harrison Avenue (Exit 82) and Grand Mound (Exit 88), as well as potential new routes or connections. Local network improvements in the greater study area are being looked at for increased connectivity, better industrial access, safer travel conditions on freight corridors, and smoother traffic flow. The effort entails close coordination with local jurisdictions like Centralia, Thurston County, and Bucoda, economic development interests like the Industrial Park at Transalta (IPAT). the Economic Development Council (EDC), and the Chehalis Tribe, and transportation agencies like the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A full list of partners can be found in the Stakeholder Process.
The County is funding this study via a Distressed Counties grant in the amount of $500,000. A legislative earmark of $50 million is available beginning in 2025 for a highway strategy that supports industrial access.