I-90 Undercrossing expected to be completed by early fall

July 27, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Workers with their earth-moving equipment continue to labor July 26 on the roadway bed for the Interstate 90 Undercrossing, which will be named Fourth Avenue Northwest. By Greg Farrar

City Council members paved the way last week for completion of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing, a north-south link meant to cut traffic on existing Issaquah roads.

The council adjusted the construction contract between the city and the main undercrossing builder to finish the section along Southeast 62nd Street and 221st Place Southeast.

The council agreed to spend $530,935 in order for Kirkland-based MidMountain Contractors to complete the last phase. The change brings the undercrossing cost to about $3 million.

Before the July 19 decision, Councilman Joshua Schaer commended city staffers for expediting completion of the undercrossing puzzle.

“People say that we’ve got major transportation problems throughout the city and here we are in the span of two years, less than two years, and we’re on the verge of putting together a major connection under I-90 and keeping it on budget,” he said.

The council also approved a separate agreement to coordinate with Puget Sound Energy to install electrical service to a traffic signal, plus junction boxes, conduits and streetlights along the undercrossing.

The city estimates the undercrossing could remove 2,000 to 4,000 vehicles from Northwest Gilman Boulevard and 3,000 to 6,000 vehicles from Front Street North each day. Gilman Boulevard handles 29,000 cars per day; Front Street handles 49,000.

In March, the council picked MidMountain Contractors to build most of the road link from the post office traffic signal along Northwest Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 56th Street.

Issaquah-based Seacon agreed to construct another piece of the undercrossing in order to build the Issaquah Medical Building on the former Zetec site.

Interstate 90 Undercrossing route

Crews will add sidewalks, traffic signals and landscaping through most of the corridor. The project includes curb and gutter work as well. Construction should wrap by early fall.

Before the council could fine-tune the MidMountain Contractors agreement, however, the city had to secure right of way for the final undercrossing piece. The council set aside environmental concerns last month to approve a development agreement with property owners Doug and Linda Ebi for the necessary right of way.

Councilman Fred Butler praised the undercrossing-related construction July 19.

“Certainly, what we’re doing will be a big improvement out there,” he said. “There are some pretty significant potholes, and the shoulders are graveling and stuff like that.”

Undercrossing name game

After years of planning and months of construction, the Interstate 90 Undercrossing has a new name. The north-south connector fits into the city street grid as Fourth Avenue Northwest.

Plans call for the completed roadway to run from the traffic signal at the post office along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, form a T-shaped intersection at Southeast 62nd Street, continue along 221st Place Southeast and then end at Southeast 56th Street.

Crews should complete the road by early fall.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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