Parkway project moving along on schedule

April 10, 2008

By Jim Feehan

The Coal Creek Parkway road construction project completed its first winter without any major delays or costly overruns. The project is about one-third of the way toward completion.

In mid-February, workers installed girders for a new bridge section over May Creek. Last month, crews blasted rocks and continued hauling away material from an excavation of the east side of Coal Creek Parkway north of Southeast 89th Place.

“I’m extraordinarily pleased with the progress, performance and adherence to the schedule,” said City Manager John Starbard. “This reinforces that we have some very good people on top of the project.”

Aside from the closure of the parkway at the May Creek Bridge site for a few days in February, the contractors have maintained two-way traffic along streets throughout the project.

The contractor working on the bridge project is constructing the eastern half of the bridge. When the east side of the bridge is completed in June , crews will demolish the old bridge and construct the west half of the new bridge, Starbard said.

Bridge construction should be done and the new bridge open to the public by March 2009.

Phase 2 of the project, from Southeast 84th Way to Southeast 91st Street, involves excavation of the east side of Coal Creek Parkway and constructing retaining walls. Motorists have affectionately referred to a retaining wall near Southeast 84th Way as the “Lego wall,” said Maiya Andrews, Newcastle Public Works director.

Some blasting occurred last month at the north end of the project near a rock outcropping. A You Tube video of the blasting, as well as lots of other information, can be seen at the project’s Web site – Ê

Coal Creek Parkway is the only north-south roadway alternative to Interstate 405 between the cities of Bellevue and Renton, making it a vital regional corridor.

City officials have planned improving the parkway since Newcastle was incorporated 13 years ago. Mayor Ben Varon said the City Council pledged to find the additional $4 million to fund the project.

Stu Allen, president of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and a critic of the financing of the project, applauded the city’s effort.

“I’m impressed and confident with the team in place working on the Coal Creek Parkway project,” Allen said. “We would like nothing better to have the job finished on time and on budget. I would love nothing better than to be proved wrong by the city.”

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