ARLINGTON — City of Arlington officials and construction contractors partnered with public outreach specialists to answer questions from the residents and businesses that will be affected by the final phase of the 67th Avenue project this spring and summer.
City Public Works Manager Jim Kelly joined City Council members and Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum on March 13 to address how the remaining work would close the last gap in Centennial Trail, add drainage through two new culverts for Portage and Prairie creeks, increase the traffic mobility currently afforded by the road, and complement the aesthetic charms of 67th Avenue as the southern entrance to Arlington.
“Our goal is that it should match the look of what we did to Olympic Avenue a few years back,” said Kelly, who credited Washington State Transportation Improvement Board grants with making this project possible. “We’ll be starting construction in April, and working on the culverts this summer to take care of the flooding issues around 67th. By December, we’ll finally have Centennial Trail completed. It’s set to be a one-year project, so we’re asking people to bear with us, because the end results will be well worth it.”
Kelly acknowledged that the construction schedule of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, would increase traffic congestion in the meantime, but he reassured homeowners and merchants alike that the city’s primary priority during construction will be to keep their driveways and storefronts open.
Dave Mohler, construction manager for KBA, promised that he would remain a full-time presence on site to work with businesses by helping to provide them with clear signage and dependable construction times that they will be able to build their schedules around.
“We want to make sure people are still finding these workplaces,” Mohler said. “We’ll do our best to maintain accessways, and work with residents on a one-on-one basis.”
Mohler echoed Kelly by explaining that the completed trail and refurbished sidewalks should provide greater visibility and safety, especially in heavy precipitation and during winter months. Tolbert likewise agreed with Kelly that the 67th Avenue project will be at least as complex as the renovations of Olympic Avenue, but also pledged not only to maintain services such as waste disposal and deliveries to the affected areas of the street during their construction times, but also to keep the city’s citizens abreast of the latest updates instantly through social media.
Elizabeth Faulkner, an associate with EnviroIssues, pointed to www.67thAve.org as a one-stop shop for information on the 67th Avenue project.
“Once construction starts, it’ll basically turn into a constantly updated blog,” Faulkner said. “We’ll not only be posting dates, times and locations for construction, but also detour routes and listings for the 24-hour hotline and email. You can even submit comments directly to the site. As much as we can’t control, the one thing that we can control is the timely release of good information.”
Connie Hoge is an equestrian who lives in town and is thrilled to see the impending completion of Centennial Trail, although she did request that more parking spaces for horse trailers be installed, while Kathy Wishart came to the open house because Prairie Creek runs through her backyard.
“A big concern I have is that there’s already a drop to my driveway,” Wishart said. “I haven’t seen what the new grade will be in the blueprints, so I’m worried about parking in a hole, but everyone has been very good about keeping me informed about the progress of this project.”