More than a dozen major road projects slated for South Sound this summer

Staff writerJune 28, 2014 

The season of lane closures, pilot cars and bright orange “road work ahead” signs has arrived.

From now through September, more than a dozen major road projects are planned for South Sound. Several are being paid with by a mix of city, state and federal funds. And in many cases, motorists can expect delays or detours.

“We have a short window to do a lot of these projects in the summertime,” said Doug Adamson, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation. (WSDOT), which has a paving and an expansion joint project scheduled on Interstate 5 in Thurston County. “...That’s why we appreciate drivers being patient.”

Here are the biggest summer road projects slated for Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Thurston County and state roads.

Olympia

*Work began in May on the city of Olympia’s biggest road project for the summer: A single-lane roundabout being built at Boulevard Road and 22nd Avenue.

Crews with contractor Active Construction Inc. are clearing the intersection, installing underground utilities, building new stormwater treatment ponds and constructing the roundabout. It will include sidewalk, planter strips, bike lanes and ornamental street lighting, according to a city news release.

Drivers can expect “some pretty extensive delays at times” especially between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the summer, according to city engineer Fran Eide.

“During construction, we are requiring the contractor to keep a lane open, so you may be flagged through,” she said. “If you’re really needing to get to some place by a particular time, it may be best to find an alternative route.”

The $4.8 million project, which includes design, fees and construction costs, is expected to wrap up in October, Eide said.

It’s being paid for with city funds, and money from the state Transportation Improvement Board and the WSDOT. For updates on the project go to https://twitter.com/OlyProjects.

*Nearly half of a mile of new sidewalk is going in on the hill side of Westbay Drive in Olympia

The estimated $2.6 million project is set to begin in August, and be complete by November, according to Eide. It will include sidewalk, tree planting, retaining walls, planting areas and possibly some art elements, she said.

*Curb extensions (also known as curb bulb-outs) will be installed at 15 corners along State Avenue between East Bay Drive and Central Street.

“Basically, what we do at the intersection is we extend the corner out to the depth of what would be a parking stall,” Eide said. “...There will likely be some impacts to at least one of those travel lanes as work is done.”

Curb bulb-outs shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, she said. The $2.85 million project, which includes some storm drainage improvements and paving, is set to be completed by next spring, Eide said.

Lacey

*The city of Lacey is swapping out 28 traffic signal controllers and cabinets this summer.

“Our existing controllers are basically late 1970s technology,” said public works director Scott Egger. “It’s a huge upgrade in technology.”

The city spent about $1.3 million on the servers, software and other technology for the project. It is paying VECA Electric & Technologies about $305,000 to install the devices, which will allow real time monitoring at traffic signals, Egger said. The new system allows traffic lights to be programmed for different times of the day, to help improve traffic flow.

“If there’s a problem at the signal, it can actually send a text message to the electrician who is on call,” Egger said. “We won’t have to rely on word of mouth or phone calls.”

The devices are being installed at night at major corridors in the city and Thurston County, including along College Street between Martin Way and Lacey Boulevard, and Lacey Boulevard and Pacific Avenue and from Carpenter Road to Sleater-Kinney Road Southeast, Egger said.

The project is expected to be finished in early September, he said.

*The city has contracted with Puget Paving & Construction Inc. for its annual street overlay project. The work is set to begin in about three weeks, and is budgeted at $905,000. It’s scheduled to be finished by mid-September.

The project involves mostly residential streets in the northeast portion of the city. However, some of the work is scheduled to include Meridian Road Northeast between Orion Drive Northeast and 31st Avenue.

“There will be lane closures, and possible full closures and detours, during paving,” Egger said.

Tumwater

*Crews are scheduled to begin work July 7 on a road project at Linderson Way, from Israel Road to Lee Street in Tumwater.

The contractor, Iversen and Sons Inc., will install bike lanes along Linderson Way, reconstructing curb returns, sidewalk and pedestrian crossings at Dennis Street and realigning Tartan Drive, according to city spokeswoman Heidi Behrends Cerniwey.

The $370,000 project, which includes construction and design, is expected to take about 25 days, and traffic could be limited to one-way at times on Linderson Way and Dennis Street. Periodic closures of Tartan Drive at Linderson might be required during construction as well, Cerniwey said.

*Stormwater improvements and an asphalt overlay for a portion of Somerset Hill Drive are scheduled to be completed by the fall.

The engineer’s estimate for the project, including design and construction, is about $340,000, according to Cerniwey.

The street will be limited to one-way traffic during construction , she said.

Thurston County

*Thurston County’s most visible project this summer is known as “Bridging the Gap Phase 3” according to Scott Lindblom, interim county engineer.

The $2.7 million project is a new pedestrian and bike bridge over Pacific Avenue Southwest, and helps fill a missing link in the popular Chehalis Western Trail.

“Construction began late last year and should get done, weather permitting, by the end of this year,” Lindblom said, “but it could spill over into next year.”

The project is being done by contractor Active Construction Inc., and is a partnership between the county, the cities of Lacey and Olympia and WSDOT.

*The county has a major project for Delphi Road from the Highway 101 bridge to Lloyd Road. The road is being widened, and some of the curves are being straightened out, Lindblom said. Some stormwater improvements also are part of the project which likely will be done in the late summer, he said.

“Traffic will be maintained throughout construction, but there will be delays,” Lindblom said. There aren’t expected to be any overnight closures with the project, he added.

About 90 percent of the $985,000 project is being paid for with funding from the County Road Administrative Board, according to a flyer about it on the county’s web site.

*In July and August, about $1.7 million worth of chipsealing is planned for about 42 miles of roads mostly in the northwest portion of the county, according to Lindblom.

“It’s preserving the roads,” he said.

There will be signs posted on affected roads, and motorists are encouraged to drive slowly through the work zones to keep from kicking the oil up on their vehicles, Lindblom said.

*The bridge known as L4 over Salmon Creek on Littleroad Road Southwest is scheduled to be replaced this summer.

On Tuesday, the Thurston County Commissioners awarded a $1.6 million contract for its construction to Active Construction Inc.

“It looks like they’ll probably start in July,” Lindblom. “We’re expecting for it to be done completely by the end of this year.”

A temporary Bailey bridge has been at the site since March. The original, 1950s-vintage bridge was closed Jan. 27 due to structural deficiencies. Temporary repairs were made, but the two-lane bridge was closed again Feb. 20, less than a day after it had reopened.

The Bailey bridge will be removed in August to make room for demolition of the old bridge and construction of new piers. Drivers can expect to be detoured for about eight weeks for the construction, according to a county news release.

Lindblom said the project has involved the county, WSDOT, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several departments at the county-level.

“It’s been kind of fun to see how the government process can and should work,” he said. “It’s been a huge team effort.”

*A slide repair is scheduled in August on Prather Road Southwest at Grunenfelder Road Southwest, south of Rochester. The road has been closed since Feb. 18.

The work will be done by county crews, and is expected to cost about $600,000, Lindblom said. It’s expected to take a couple of weeks to complete, he said.

*Crews are installing guard rails, rumble strips and hundreds of new signs designed to create safer intersections and roadways throughout the county.

The contract amount for the project, known as the “Run-Off Road & Intersection Safety Project,” was about $1.8 million, Lindblom said. It is expected to be complete by the end of the summer, he said.

Washington State Department of Transportation

*In February, more than a dozen motorists reported flat tires and other damage to their vehicles due to a hole on the southbound U.S. Highway 101 merge onto northbound Interstate 5, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Crews made temporary repairs to the expansion joint, but permanent ones will take place this summer, according to Adamson with WSDOT.

“We’re going to replace that entire expansion joint on I-5, and it’s going to go over both north and southbound lanes,” he said. “And that means we’re going to have two mega -- high impact -- weekends,” Adamson said.

WSDOT officials haven’t determined the specific dates yet, but those high impact weekends likely will take place in mid-August and include daytime lane closures.

“It will be this summer, there’s no question about it,” Adamson said. “We’re going to be asking a lot of people to be delaying a lot of discretionary trips.”

As part of the project, which was awarded to Tucci & Sons Inc., WSDOT also is grinding down old pavement, repairing damaged areas and resurfacing segments of I-5 between Tumwater and Lakewood this summer. The work will resurface the right and center lanes in those segments. Crews also will repave the on- and off-ramps at Tumwater Boulevard in Tumwater and Center Drive in DuPont, according to the WSDOT web site.

The construction budget for the project is about $3.8 million, Adamson said.

For more information about the project and others on I-5, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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