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VANCOUVER, WA-Legacy Health System’s proposed $170 million hospital in the Salmon Creek area has a good chance of being denied or delayed due to traffic congestion and Costco Wholesale Corp.

Clark County planning staff recently denied Costco’s planned 142,000-sf store after computerized traffic models show that Salmon Creek Avenue traffic to and from the warehouse store would slow to well below the acceptable limit of 22 mph. Costco previously volunteered to make more than $1 million in traffic improvements, but the city’s estimates found that traffic speeds would still fall below the acceptable minimum near the confluence of Interstates 5 and 205.

Legacy’s proposed project also would put traffic onto Salmon Creek Avenue, and some county planners are quietly predicting a similar fate. Even if it does pass traffic muster, there could still be problems. Costco may have a legal right to its place at the head of the line for rights to build, especially if it appeals the Sept. 10 decision by the Sept. 24 deadline.

One possible outcome could be Costco and Legacy working together to cover the costs. The other possibility is everybody waits until 2003 or 2004 when the county plans to begin road improvements to the area. As it stands, the projects are too far off to take into account in the traffic models.

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