67th Ave. construction set to wrap up May 16

Equipment operator Marshal Rommel evens out the gravel on one of the driveways connecting 67th Avenue to Taylor Industrial Park on May 7. - Kirk Boxleitner
Equipment operator Marshal Rommel evens out the gravel on one of the driveways connecting 67th Avenue to Taylor Industrial Park on May 7.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Unless unexpected heavy rains last for a week, city of Arlington Public Works Director Jim Kelly is ready to declare that the 67th Avenue final phase project will be complete within the coming week.

“Friday, May 16, is the day it will be done,” Kelly said. “After that, we’ll have minor incidental installations, but the real work will be over.”

“We’ll still have street amenities to put in, like benches, but we need to select locations where they’re most likely to be used,” said Bill Blake, who serves as the city’s project liaison. “We’re not going to have flaggers on the road or anything like that.”

Among the more recent milestones that Kelly cited were the final pavings of Centennial Trail and the roadway itself in April, while May has been devoted to the installations of traffic lights, the raising of manholes and the applications of street markings, such as turn arrows and crosswalks.

Sarah Arney, of the Snohomish County Trail Coalition Board of Directors, reported that the Coalition had been anxiously waiting for the completion of that final section of the trail, from the Skagit County line to the Snohomish River.

“Coalition members are now campaigning for the link of the trail to Monroe from Snohomish, and are enthusiastic about the county’s focus on the extension from Snohomish to Bothell and Woodinville,” Arney said. “We’re optimistic that all the links will get done eventually, and thrilled that Arlington is showcasing one of the best sections of the Centennial Trail.”

“One of the greatest things has been seeing people finally able to use that section of the trail, from pedestrians to joggers to bikers,” Kelly said on Wednesday, May 7. “The traffic signals at the intersection of 67th Avenue and 204th Street will have sensors, so that they’re demand-actuated.”

“That means they’ll be faster-acting,” Blake said that same day. “And we’re raising the manholes this week so that they’ll be even with the pavement to provide a nice, smooth roadway for motorists by next week.”

While Blake and Kelly touted the touches that are set to be completed within the coming week, they were joined by Marion Taylor, of the Taylor Industrial Park lining the east side of 67th Avenue and the north side of 204th Street.

“It’s nearly done, and I’m glad for that,” Taylor said on May 7. “There were challenges and difficulties along the way, especially since I’ve been bordered on two sides by construction, and I have four driveways that were affected by this project, but it was difficult for everyone. As time-consuming as it was, and as much coordination as it required, I’m very appreciative of what the result will be.”

Blake expects that the city will officially celebrate the completion of the project sometime in June, most likely at Hubb’s Pizza & Pasta, at the intersection of 67th Avenue and 211th Street.

“Hubb’s was centrally located within the project zone, and as impacted as anyone by its effects,” Blake said on May 7. “They were also wonderfully easy to work with. We definitely appreciate all the businesses and residences that were impacted by this project, as well as all the motorists, from commuters to school bus drivers. Even with the work we have left, you see both lanes open, and cars coming and going again, which is bringing traffic and customers back to these businesses. One of our big concerns was that all the businesses would stay intact, and we haven’t lost any of them in this stretch since we started.”

As crews apply the crosswalk striping, Kelly clarified that the crosswalks on 67th Avenue would be different from those on Olympic Avenue in downtown Arlington.

“The Olympic Avenue crosswalks were embedded PVC,” Kelly said. “The crosswalks on 67th Avenue will be wide striping with a three- to four-year life expectancy, longer than paint and easy to reinstall.”

When asked if there were any lessons learned from the 67th Avenue final phase project, Kelly demurred from what he deemed “armchair quarterbacking.”

“In any construction project, issues will arise, and how you manage those issues has the potential to trigger other issues,” Kelly said. “What we can say is that there was a strong city presence throughout, and where there were problems, we were very successful in managing them so that we could keep going.”

“And we’re wrapping up on time and on budget,” Blake said.

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