Issaquah tragedies, triumphs define a tumultuous year

December 28, 2010

Traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive in February. State Department of Transportation crews completed the long-running project in 2010. By Greg Farrar

The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.

Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more

New May Creek Bridge opens to vehicles

August 31, 2010

May Creek Bridge near the intersection of Southeast May Valley Road and state Route 900 has reopened to traffic after a summerlong closure.

King County crews built a $1.7 million May Creek Bridge to replace a timber-supported span across the north fork of May Creek. The larger, safer bridge opened Aug. 27 — ahead of the Aug. 31 completion deadline.

Teams from Kirkland-based MidMountain Contractors dismantled the aging bridge and built a modern replacement designed to include wider lanes and shoulders, and bear heavier loads.

The old bridge closed June 21. The timing coincided with summer break in the Issaquah School District. Students returned to school Aug. 31.

Linda Thielke, Road Services Division spokeswoman, said the county received few comments from drivers during the shutdown and construction — aside from the usual questions about why the bridge had to remain closed for several weeks.

King County Road Services Division planners picked a full shutdown because the option allowed for the fastest construction of the replacement.

The old bridge constricted traffic at the nearby intersection of state Route 900 and Southeast May Valley Road.

Planners started outreach for the project years ago. The county hosted open houses and, before the June shutdown, sent 8,000 mailers with construction information to nearby residents.

May Creek Bridge near Issaquah reopens to traffic

August 27, 2010

UPDATED — 1:40 p.m. Aug. 27, 2010

May Creek Bridge near the intersection of Southeast May Valley Road and state Route 900 has reopened to traffic after a summerlong closure.

King County crews built a $1.7 million May Creek Bridge to replace a timber-supported span across the north fork of May Creek.

Teams from MidMountain Contractors dismantled the aging bridge and built a modern replacement designed to include wider lanes and shoulders, and bear heavier loads.

Read more

May Creek Bridge closes from June 21 until August

June 15, 2010

The bridge near the intersection of Southeast May Valley Road and state Route 900 will close June 21 and remain closed for most of the summer, as workers dismantle the aging structure and build a replacement bridge.

King County plans a modern May Creek Bridge to replace the timber-supported, 60-year-old span across the north fork of May Creek. Crews posted signs near the bridge last week to alert drivers to the shutdown and construction. Detour signs will be posted for the duration of the closure.

The replacement bridge will be longer, with wider lanes and shoulders. Moreover, the $1.7 million project has been designed to bear heavier loads.

The narrow roadway on the existing bridge constricts traffic at the nearby intersection of state Route 900 and Southeast May Valley Road.

King County Road Services Division planners started readying for the project several years ago. The agency contacted the state Department of Transportation, emergency-service providers and the Issaquah School District to prepare.

Sara Niegowski, district spokeswoman, said the timing dovetails with summer break. The school year ends June 17 and starts Aug. 31.

Read more

County planners want input about May Creek Bridge replacement

November 21, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 21, 2009

King County transportation planners want to hear from drivers whose commutes will be impacted when crews replace the aging May Creek Bridge.

Send comments about the planned project to the King County Road Services Division. Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 23.

Submit comments to project manager Jessy Jose, 206-296-1916 or jessy.jose@kingcounty.gov, and environmental engineer Peter Drakos, 206-263-0428 or peter.drakos@kingcounty.gov. Road Services Division officials will review the comments.

Check out project details here.

Read more

Officials want input ahead of May Creek Bridge closure

June 9, 2009

maycreek-bridge-plans-20090King County transportation planners want to hear from drivers whose commutes will be impacted when crews replace the aging May Creek Bridge. Planners will host a June 11 open house at Briarwood Elementary School from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

County Road Services Division officials will be available to answer questions and accept comments about the planned closure. Officials hope to close the bridge next summer. Depending on which construction option they choose, the bridge could be closed from two to six months. 

Officials will also be available at the open house to talk privately with property owners about concerns related to the bridge project.

May Valley Bridge was built in 1950. Timber supports beneath the roadway have decayed and the bridge has outlived its intended lifespan, officials said. Moreover, the roadway is narrow and constricts traffic that uses the nearby intersection of state Route 900 and Southeast May Valley Road. 

Barbara de Michele, community relations planner for the project, said the bridge is “quite past its useful lifespan.

“There’s quite a bit of deterioration that needs to be replaced desperately,” she added.

The replacement bridge would meet modern safety standards. Plans call for the replacement bridge to be 40 feet wide with a 30-foot span. The bridge would include two 12-foot-wide travel lanes. The roadway would be wider and have improved sight lines and wider road shoulders for cyclists and pedestrians.

Jessy Jose, project manager for the May Valley Bridge overhaul, said county officials are considering a full or partial closure for the duration of construction. 

A full closure would allow workers to complete the bridge replacement in about two to three months. A partial closure — a more expensive option — would allow vehicles to continue using the bridge during the five to six months of construction.

County officials opted for a partial closure of Bandaret Bridge across Issaquah Creek. The roadway is restricted to one lane over the creek through November while crews build a replacement bridge a few feet away.

Road Services Division officials want drivers to weigh in about May Creek Bridge construction options at the open house, and de Michele said the comments would be a factor in the construction decision. She said 5,800 postcards were sent to nearby residents alerting them to the project and the open house.

County staffers will also coordinate with officials at the Issaquah School District, state Department of Transportation and emergency service providers to reduce the impact of construction. 

 

If You Go

May Creek Bridge open house

June 11

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Briarwood Elementary School multipurpose room

17020 S.E. 134th St., Renton

Sign up for e-mails about the project by e-mailing Community Relations Planner Barbara de Michele at barbara.demichele@kingcounty.gov. 

 

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.