Council OKs money to change Providence Point intersection

June 14, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. June 14, 2010

City Council members took the initial step last week to improve the accident-plagued intersection at the entrance to Providence Point.

The city and consultants will make the project “shovel ready” — and more competitive for state or federal dollars. Officials hope the state or federal governments could pick up all or most of the eventual construction cost. Beyond the city-funded planning, however, the future of the project remains uncertain.

City Council members agreed to spend up to $100,000 to complete plans to realign the intersection at Southeast 43rd Way and Providence Point Drive Southeast. The effort will require utility providers to prepare plans to move utility lines in order to accommodate proposed changes.

Before city engineers consider the project to be “shovel ready,” the city must also complete the environmental review for the project and secure right of way for the proposed realignment. Providence Point management has indicated interest in donating right of way to the city.

The council agreed Monday night to fund the planning stage. Before the unanimous decision, Councilman Joshua Schaer said he hopes the Puget Sound Regional Council — the transportation planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties — ranks the intersection as a candidate if future sources of funding become available.

“I really hope that staff will be able to secure the necessary funding, whether it’s through the feds or PSRC or wherever we can get our hands on the dough to make this happen,” he said.

Schaer credited former Councilman John Rittenhouse, a longtime advocate for a re-engineered intersection at the Providence Point entrance. Rittenhouse — a single-term councilman and a member of the Council Transportation Committee — stepped down in January.

“This was really an important project that he wanted to see come to fruition someday,” Schaer said.

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