Construction of Yelm Loop expected to begin in spring 2025

Rhoton Road to be reconstructed, in addition to new bypass


Construction of the long-anticipated Yelm Loop project is expected to begin in spring of next year.

Yelm Public Works Project Manager Pat Hughes gave the Yelm City Council the good news during a July 2 meeting.

For motorists driving the Yelm Loop starting near Walmart, the new road will head north along Walmart Boulevard before approaching a new roundabout at 103rd Avenue, Hughes reported in March. After the new traffic circle, drivers will continue north to Canal Road Southeast’s current crossing and eventually to Flume Road Southeast.

The Yelm Loop, also known as Yelm Bypass, will continue to Railway Road Southeast near the Prairie Line Trail, then along to Wilkensen Road Southeast, which will also feature a new roundabout. The stretch continues along to Northwest Rhoton Road, Yelm Creek and Cullens Road Northwest before connecting to the already existing state Route 510 to complete phase 1 of the project.

Hughes said he’s been asked many questions about the status of the Yelm Loop project. He emphasized that the loop is a Washington state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project.

“We are a stakeholder in that because there’s a significant portion of it that will be within our city limits,” Hughes said. “That project is just about complete in the design right now. They’re calling it 99%, and I’m waiting for those final drawings for review, just about anytime now.”

He said he expects construction of the Yelm Loop project to begin in spring of 2025, with a specific target month of May or June. He said the project will also go out to bid in January 2025.

“I’ll believe it when I see it. This project has been coming for 25 years, I think, but technically we’re already started on construction because the utility companies are out there starting on relocations with electric, gas, telecommunications and street lighting. They’re relocating some. That relocation needs to be complete by the end of November,” Hughes said. “Within a year from now, hopefully, we’ll see some construction started on the Yelm Loop.”

With the addition of the Yelm Loop will be the reconstruction of Rhoton Road, which has been planned for “quite some time.”

City officials attempted to secure funding to reconstruct the road “a number of years ago,” Hughes said, but they were reluctant because there wasn’t enough assurance that the Yelm Loop would be constructed. He anticipates construction beginning in early 2026 for this project.

“This is coming to light quickly because once the Yelm Loop is completed, the main route coming in from the west along 510 from Lacey to get to downtown Yelm will be Rhoton Road,” Hughes said. “They will take the Yelm Loop to Rhoton Road and head straight south directly into the city center.”

Hughes added that federal funds have been secured for the design and the right-of-way phases, adding he’s now looking to apply for funding for the construction phase of the Rhoton Road reconstruction project.

“I think I have full funding in place for the right of way and design phase, but the construction phase, frankly, there’s just not enough federal money out there for it,” Hughes said. “So we’re going to have to come up with some other money, too.”

He said he’s spoken with the state Transportation Improvement Board, which supports the Rhoton Road reconstruction project, and that there’s a good possibility Yelm could receive state funding for the construction phase.

“Trouble is, when the state gives you money, they want to see it used right away,” Hughes said. “They don’t want to give money now and not build it for three or four years. We’re going to go back to them for some construction phase money in 2025.”