LACEY - A stretch of Carpenter Road in Lacey that's traveled by an average of 17,000 vehicles daily - a number that's expected to nearly double by 2030 - is about to receive some long-planned upgrades.
The Lacey City Council is expected to award a $7.46 million construction contract to Puyallup-based Active Construction Inc. during tonight’s meeting to widen a one-mile section of Carpenter Road between Martin Way and Pacific Avenue. It’s in desperate need of repair, city officials say.
City engineer Roger Schoessel described the two-lane section of road as a traditional “farm-to-market” route that, over the years, has evolved into a major north-south corridor.
Widening Carpenter Road required the city to acquire rights-of-way from 44 parcels, ranging from two to 25 feet per property and averaging about 2,500 square feet.
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Schoessel said the city budgeted about $2.2 million for acquisitions, a good portion of which came from grants.
Many of the property owners took the appraised offers, but two did not agree to terms with the city, according to Ken Ahlf, Lacey city attorney. As a result, the City Council approved an ordinance in April that allowed the city to move forward with potential condemnation of the properties.
Ahlf said that before either could get to trial, the city settled with Carpenter Crest Apartments near Martin Way in September and recently came to agreement another property owner in the 6200 block of Sixth Avenue Southeast.
The city plans to widen the road to four lanes (five near Martin and Pacific) and add sidewalks, lighting and underground utilities.
The construction area is in both Lacey and Thurston County, so the jurisdictions are kicking in equal amounts for the work.
Construction should begin next month and likely could start with retaining walls and trenches to place utilities underground. However, a construction schedule won’t be released until the contract is awarded, and Active Construction can meet with the city. Work is expected to wrap up by early 2013.
Nonroad work planned as part of the project includes a new culvert at Lake Lois, a new stormwater treatment and infiltration system, a reclaimed-water main to Woodland Creek Park and a new sanitary lift station. An engineered wetland near Woodland Creek Park likely will be constructed this summer.
While the project has been a target for years, funding has been a roadblock.
The project has been in the Thurston Regional Planning Council’s plan since 1975, and updates to the road have been deemed “immediate” since the city placed it on its transportation plan back in 1991, Schoessel said.
He said the city started requesting grant funding in the late 1990s and received a design grant from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board in 2001. Another grant came in 2007 for right-of-way funding, and more than $4 million came in last year to finalize funding for road construction.
Schoessel said the city would have had to put off construction if state money hadn’t come through.
Utility upgrades, such as the new lift station and reclaimed-water line, will be paid for by city enterprise money, not grant funding.
Another major road project wrapped up in October with the opening of the $2.8 million Mullen Drive connection between Ruddell Road and College Street.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/outsideoly