Snoqualmie Casino recently launched a free employee shuttle to provide its employees with a safer commute across a dangerous section of State Route 18 (SR-18).

Snoqualmie Casino’s new free employee shuttle. Photo courtesy Snoqualmie Casino.

Since 2010, at least 25 incidents have occurred in a specific 7-mile stretch of SR-18 that have resulted in either serious injuries or fatalities — of those, four fatalities were employees of Snoqualmie Casino. The most recent incident occurred in October when two casino employees, a mother and daughter, were killed during their morning commute across the highway and prompting the casino into action.

A month after the incident, the casino, along with the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, offered the Washington State Department of Transportation $1 million in hopes of speeding up the process to widen the dangerous road.

“Over 500 employees of the tribe and many of our community neighbors travel this 7-mile stretch of road every day,” Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles said in a statement. “Their safety and well-being are of utmost importance to the Snoqualmie Tribe.”

Last month, Washington state legislators allocated $26.9 million in funding for SR-18 improvements as part of the state transportation budget. In the meantime, the casino leadership has decided to launch the shuttle service to keep its employees safe.

“While we are thankful that the state has put funding in the budget, we understand that highway improvements take time,” Snoqualmie Casino President and CEO Brian Decorah said in a statement. “With over 40 percent of our workforce commuting SR-18 every day, the Snoqualmie Tribal Council put safety over profits by providing our work family with a safer and sturdier vehicle for their daily commute.”

The free employee shuttle, operated by professional drivers and employed by the casino, runs continuously, from 2 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday — days and times during which most accidents have occurred.