By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The City of Mill Creek achieved two important milestones in the 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction project on March 6th, 2018.
First, they formally requested bids from interested contractors and second, a Seattle firm was chosen to manage the project.
At their regular March 6th city council meeting City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto announced that the 35th Avenue Reconstruction project finally went out for formal construction bids.
At the same meeting, the Mill Creek City Council approved a $611,000 not-to-exceed contract with Seattle construction management firm Gray & Osborne to manage the project, which is estimated to take 30 weeks.
According to Public Works and Community Development Director Gina Hortillosa, city staff plan to open the submitted bids and begin their evaluation on March 27th.
The City of Mill Creek has been planning this project since 2013, when periodic flooding on the three-lane major arterial roadway and the subsequent closures made it evident that something had to be done.
The road has been gradually sinking into the peat bog over which it was built since it was built in the early 20th century and has been periodically rebuilt to raise its elevation above the flooding Penny Creek.
When it was a small farm road flooding was not a major problem, but when Snohomish County widened the road to three lanes in 2003 to increase capacity, road closures became more problematic.
35th Avenue SE now carries an average of 15,000 vehicles per day and traffic often detours through local residential neighborhoods when the road is closed.
KPFF Consulting Engineers were awarded a contract in February 2014 to develop a detailed reconstruction design for fixing the 35th Avenue SE flooding issues.
After a preliminary design review in July 2014, the city council approved a reconstruction design approach utilizing a structural slab supported by steel pin piles driven through the peat bog to prevent future roadway settlement.
The Mill Creek City Council continued to receive updates on the project's design from engineering staff over the years so there would be no surprises.
The original 2013 estimate for engineering and reconstructing 35th Avenue SE was $3,500,000.
On March 6th Polizzotto told the city council that the total estimated project cost is now $6,469,000 including engineering design, right-of-way acquisition, and all construction services.
City staff worked with Washington State Legislators to secure grants worth $5,250,000 to help pay for the project. Senator Steve Hobbs, Democrat – Lake Stevens, was instrumental in obtaining these state funds over the past five years and the legislature made the final approvals this week.
It’s hopeful that construction will begin in April and be completed before temperatures drop in the fall, but that depends on contractor availability.
Hortillosa told the city council that her worst case scenario is that the reconstructed 35th Avenue SE will be open to the public in October, but actual physical completion may not occur until spring 2019 when air temperatures rise.
The final asphalt layer, or lift, needs to be made during relatively warm air temperatures for proper compaction and roadway longevity.