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Crews work round the clock on 67th Ave. Nov. 18-26
ARLINGTON — The intersection of 67th Avenue NE and 204th Street will be a 24-hour-a-day hotbed of construction work for the week and a half leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, as the 67th Avenue Final Phase project gets ready to wrap up the last of its work before the winter break.
Construction crews will be extending required new water and sewer utilities through the intersection on the weekday evenings of Monday, Nov. 18, through Tuesday, Nov. 26, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., excluding weekends.
“They won’t be working on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but they will come back after that weekend to wrap up their work on the evenings of Nov. 25-26,” Arlington Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield said. “And that’ll be it before the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Banfield explained that the 24-hour push was planned well in advance, not only to complete the intersection work prior to the holiday, but also to accommodate the scope of the work itself.
“If they’d tried to do this work during normal construction hours, it would have had an even more severe impact on our businesses, residences and community as a whole,” Banfield said. “Since they began this contract, they recognized that this would need to be done.”
This schedule is subject to change due to weather. Traffic controls will be in place to safely direct motorists around the construction zone, and two-way traffic will be maintained.
“With the assistance of the Arlington Police Department, the contractor will have extended partial closures of the intersection during the nights,” Banfield said.
Work in other sections of the 67th Avenue Final Phase project corridor will occur during typical daytime work hours, Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. One-lane closures are expected, though two-way traffic will be maintained.
“The necessary work before the winter break is getting near the end,” Banfield said. “We have to take a break during the winter, because it’s got to be dry and warm before the paving work can be done, but we’re right on schedule for the final paving and completion of the project in the spring of 2014.”
Banfield noted that this schedule is still on track even though the project’s winter shutdown could take place slightly later than originally expected, and praised the construction crews for their hard work.
“The question that I get asked most frequently now is why this is taking so long, when Airport Boulevard went up in nothing flat,” Banfield said. “The difference is that working in open land is really easy, because you don’t have to worry about the traffic scheduling and safety concerns that you have when you’re working on a pre-existing road that handles thousands of vehicles every day.”
Besides the obligations of working around existing utilities, maintaining safe pedestrian access, coordinating traffic pass-through and detours, and working with adjacent property owners, another issue that’s common to such construction projects on existing roads is the unexpected unearthing of features such as buried railroad tracks, that the city had previously simply built over.
“This road has been here between 50-60 years, so we don’t know what we’ll find,” Banfield said. “We can’t just build on top of it like they did before. We have to take out the old stuff before we can put in the new stuff. Again, it’s a lot more complicated when you’re dealing with a road that’s already there.”
Banfield expressed her appreciation to the businesses, residents and commuters of 67th Avenue for their patience, understanding and willingness to work with the city in the meantime.
Although the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association’s Hall and Museum have had their roadway access limited in the midst of the project, Association President Myrtle Rausch reported that visitors have continued to find the Hall and Museum.
“We’ve been getting good-sized tour groups to the Pioneer Museum lately, so those big blue signs that the city put out on the street must be working,” she laughed.
William “Hubb” Hubbell, of Hubb’s Pizza at the intersection with 211th Place NE, attributed his decreased traffic during the project to the construction.
“A lot of folks think we’re closed while they’re tearing up the street, but we’re still open,” Hubbell said. “Even those who know that might not feel like sitting through traffic to get here. It’s going to be fantastic when it’s done, though.”
Hubbell nonetheless praised the city of Arlington for working well with its businesses that are impacted by the ongoing road project.
“I cannot say enough about our business community,” Banfield said. “We just want to restore their normal operations as soon as possible.”
Motorists are advised to stay alert and drive slowly through the construction area. Visit www.67thAve.org to learn more.