Wenatchee mayor Frank Kuntz will negotiate and sign an Agreement with Chelan PUD on an Environmental Assessment for the Confluence Parkway project. 

Kuntz was given approval to move forward with the agreement after getting approval from the city council. 

"I don't always ask for authority to, basically, negotiate and sign, but this is one that's very important to us," said Kuntz at Thursday's council meeting. "And so, I would indulge and, perhaps you guys giving me some ability to get this to the finish line." 

The agreement will follow federal law - the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - to assess the environmental effects of the project.  

The mayor told the council that the agreement between the city and the PUD will establish which parts of the project the two sides will have authority over. 

Kuntz stressed the need to get the agreement over the finish line by the end of the year. The city council has only two meetings left in early December before a more than month long break until Jan. 12. 

The Confluence Parkway project is a 2.5-mile bypass which includes a new bridge over the Wenatchee River to connect the city with Highways 2 and 97 to the north. 

The project will add a bypass in part of the Horan Natural Area and along Confluence State Park to ease traffic flow on North Wenatchee Avenue. 

The PUD has taken an interest in the Confluence Parkway Project because it's required by the federal government to maintain the adjacent recreational area. 

The PUD's license to operate the Rock Island Dam is tied to its management of certain environmental and recreational areas and is overseen by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC). 

Construction on the Confluence Parkway Project is scheduled to begin over the next several years. 

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