Summer road and sidewalk projects heat up in South Sound

South Sound’s summer road construction season is about to kick into high gear.

And some of this year’s closures, detours and other commuter woes will be brought to you by trains, trees and traffic improvements.

One of the biggest projects taking place in the region is in Tumwater, where crews with Active Construction are working on street and sidewalk upgrades along Capitol Boulevard, from M Street to the Capitol Boulevard Bridge.

The $1.8-million project, which received about $1 million in grant funding, includes a new roadway base, removal and replacement of median curbing where needed, replacement of traffic signals with video detection, and upgraded curb ramps, according to Jay Eaton, director of Public Works for the city of Tumwater.

From E Street and north, the project includes the addition of a 5-foot-wide bike lane, landscaping areas, new sidewalks, decorative gravity block retaining walls and ornamental railings.

“I think it will create that gateway that we’re looking for as we go into the Brewery District,” Eaton said.

Construction work will typically take place between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it is scheduled to wrap up in August. The city plans to announce major closures or detours on reader boards and through press releases, Eaton said.

“It’s a fairly straightforward project,” Eaton said. “When we (begin) some pavement work that is a little more intensive as far as traffic impact goes, we’ll be doing that at night.”

Another major project is being undertaken by the state Department of Transportation.

However, the project, which dips into Thurston County along Interstate 5, between Marvin Road in Lacey to state Route 512 in Lakewood, is far enough along that drivers don’t need to worry about major delays or closures, said Claudia Bingham Baker, a spokeswoman for the agency. The $19.9 million project is scheduled to be complete by September and includes the addition of closed circuit traffic cameras, variable message signs, travel signs and ramp meters, Bingham Baker said.

“Most of the work is done,” she said. “We have a couple of what we call punch list items (that need to be finished).”

The goal of the project, which received federal grant funding, is to ease traffic along Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Outside Thurston County, there are a couple of well-traveled state roads in the region that will undergo major projects.

In Lewis County, crews are working on a $111.8-million project between the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges. They’re building collector-distributor lanes alongside I-5 for local traffic, doing bridge work, and widening and realigning the curve at Blakeslee Junction.

“We’re on the tail end of this project; it’s going to be completed by the end of the year,” said WSDOT spokesman Bart Treece.

Motorists can expect some nighttime delays and lane changes during the project, he said. There’s also a reduced speed limit in the area, he added.

Another major project is on state Route 3 in Mason County. It’s a two-year, $20.3-million project that’s being undertaken by contractor Ceccanti.

“That project is widening SR 3 to accommodate a median turn lane through about half the town of Belfair,” Bingham Baker said.

The first half of the widening project began a couple of years ago. The second half involves building sidewalks and includes nightly single-lane closures.

“That project has been a real concern for the locals, because we had to have a lot of utilities relocated,” Bingham Baker said. “So the town has been under construction for several months (due to the utilities).”

The project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016, Bingham Baker said.

Here are some other major traffic-related projects slated for this summer involving mostly Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Thurston County and state roads.

Thurston County

Trestle replacement: Burlington Northern Santa Fe has begun replacing a wooden trestle at Rainier Road Southeast with a concrete-and-steel bridge.

Connected to the work, a one-mile section of the Chehalis Western Trail closed on June 19, according to Thurston County Parks manager Kerry Hibdon. The closure is expected to last about eight weeks.

“The bottom line for us is that this is BNSF’s project, and they control the schedule, not us,” Hibdon said. “It’s a real shame that it comes right in the heart of summer when the trail is used the most, but safety is our number one concern here, so that section of the trail will be closed until BNSF completes their project.”

The $500,000 project is part of a $6-billion capital improvement campaign across the BNSF system, said Gus Melonas, a spokesman for the freight railroad network. Most of the work is being done around the track, and the actual trestle will only close for about two days, he said.

“We will finalize the project by the end of July,” he added. “We apologize about the inconvenience.”

Chipsealing: From now through the beginning of August, the county is resurfacing about 40 miles of roads with liquid asphalt and crushed rock — a technique known as chipsealing. It’s a $1.67-million project.

Several of the roads affected are in the northernmost part of the county and southeast of Lacey, including Mullen Road Southeast, Marvin Road Southeast, Martin Way Southeast, Sleater Kinney Road Northeast, Libby Road Northeast and 36th Avenue Northeast. Some of the major neighborhoods that will be affected are Meridian Heights, Pacific Park, Kent Woods and Fir Park. For a specific schedule, go to co.thurston.wa.us/Publicworks/2015/Chipseal.aspx or watch for Twitter updates at @Thurston_PW.

Overlays: About a half-mile of Kuhlman Road Southeast will be ground down and replaced between Nisqually Cutoff Road and Old Pacific Highway Southeast. The $125,000 project will take place Aug. 3-5.

Similar work is taking place along a half-mile stretch of Seventh Avenue Southeast between Nisqually Cutoff Road and Old Pacific Highway Aug. 4-7 for $125,000.

Another overlay project will involve about two-and-a-half miles of James Road Southwest from the south end of the Scatter Creek Bridge to Old Highway 9 Southwest. The $500,000 project is scheduled to take place Aug. 10-15.

Thin overlays: A layer of hot mix asphalt will be laid on roads in the SkyRidge, Stuart Place, Fleetwood Lane, Union Manor, Hawaiian Park, Lake Patterson, Pine Meadows and Cedar Park developments. Those projects are scheduled to take place July 16-31 at a cost of about $200,000.

Tree removal: Thurston County Public Works crews plan to remove three Douglas fir trees along Black Lake Belmore Road. The trees have been deemed hazardous, and the removal will improve safety sight distance, according to a post on the Public Works website.

Intermittent closures on that road could occur through July 11.


Sidewalk: Crews are connecting new sidewalk at Boulevard Road and 22nd Avenue to existing sidewalk at Cain Road. The nearly $1.8-million project will fill a 1,900-foot gap, provide a safe walking route to schools, and is expected to finish by December, according to a city brochure.

Pathways: The city is installing new pathways to connect neighborhoods at Moore, Decatur and Fairview. The $360,000 project is scheduled to be complete by December and includes pedestrian lighting, bollards (vertical posts), signage and landscaping.

Chipsealing: The city of Olympia has chipseal projects set for about 3.6 miles of roadway, including sections of Black Lake Boulevard, Mottman Road, Road 65, 20th Avenue and West Bay Drive. The cost of the project is about $597,000. Dates have not yet been determined, but the work is expected to be complete by fall, according to Brett Bures, a project manager with the city of Olympia.

Water main replacement: Crews are scheduled to replace about 2,800 feet of old water mains on 18th Avenue, Myrtle Place and Swanee Place. The $1.2-million project is designed to assure adequate water pressure for homes and firefighting uses, and is scheduled to be complete by December, according to a city brochure.

Stormwater upgrade: Crews are installing a new water quality treatment facility at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Quince Street. Cost is $300,000, and the project is expected to be complete in August 2016.

Tree maintenance: Last week, crews began removing nine trees considered high risk from Legion Way, mostly between Central and Pear streets.

The work is scheduled to take place between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily, and will require some temporary closures of Legion Way through July 13.

The trees will eventually be replaced with red oaks.


Sidewalk: Crews will construct missing sidewalk and install street lights from Capitol Boulevard along the northern side of E Street to the east side of Deschutes Parkway. The project also includes replacement of an undersized water line. This project is slated to run from Aug. 17 to Oct. 30. Total budget is $320,000, and the city has received about $182,500 in grant funding for the project.

Outfall project: Crews are converting an existing stormwater outfall at Capitol Boulevard and E Street into a constructed wetland and settling basin. The design will provide stormwater runoff. The $430,000 project is scheduled to take place Aug. 17 to Oct. 30. The city has received nearly $298,000 in grant funding from the Department of Ecology to help pay for the project.


Road extension: Crews are creating a new connection between Third Avenue from Interstate 5 to College Street, and Golf Club Road from Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue. The work is being contracted by Active Construction, and the cost is $600,000.

Waterline and sewer construction: Crews are installing 11,000 feet of water main and 3,200 feet of sewer main along Skokomish Way Northeast and in several streets in the Tanglewilde neighborhood. The project will cost about $2 million and is being undertaken by Northwest Cascade.

Roundabout: A conventional intersection is being replaced with a multi-lane roundabout at Willamette Drive and 31st Avenue.

The $1.5-million roundabout is slated to be completed in late fall and is being built by Active Construction Inc.

Street overlay: Crews with Lakeside Industries will reconstruct about a half-mile of Corporate Center Drive Southeast from Yelm Highway to College Street. The $500,000 project is set to finish in July.

Gas pipeline: One of the biggest road-related projects in Lacey this summer is being done by Puget Sound Energy. The utility is installing about a mile of new 8-inch natural gas pipeline and constructing a new district regulator along state Route 510, from Interstate 5 to Steilacoom Road South, according to a fact sheet on Puget Sound Energy’s website.

Work began on June 22 and is expected to continue through August. Most of the construction will occur between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, although some daytime work may be required, according to the project’s fact sheet.

State Department of Transportation

Landslide repairs: WSDOT is stabilizing two slopes along Highway 101.

One is in Mason County along Hood Canal, south of Beacon Point Road. “This was a slide caused by very heavy rains in January of 2014,” Baker said.

Crews are building a wall to stabilize the slope and rebuilding a sloughed-off portion of the highway, she said. The highway has been reduced to one-way alternating traffic, and the speed limit has been reduced to 25 miles an hour, according to the project’s website. The project is slated to be complete this fall.

The other slide repair is in Grays Harbor County, at milepost 72.6 or Rock Crusher Hill near Artic.

“That is a project where the road was built on a historic landslide,” Baker said. “And the landslide has been sliding under the road for a long time.”

Crews are building a single-lane road along the construction zone, and traffic will be down to an alternating one lane until the work is done.

HOV lanes: In Tacoma, crews are working on two large projects that are close together on Interstate 5. They’re known as the M Street and Portland Avenue projects.

“We’re building HOV lanes in both jobs,” Baker said. “That’s the goal in both jobs, but in the process we have to tear down and rebuild a couple of interchanges.”

The projects are multi-year projects, and motorists can expect lane shifts and closures and traffic delays in that area throughout the summer, Baker said.