April 22, 2011
NEW — 7 p.m. April 22, 2011
The city has agreed to spend $30,000 to gather data on a landslide creeping down a Squak Mountain hillside and threatening utilities leading to the Forest Rim neighborhood.
The landslide poses a risk to the only utility lines and road to the hilltop neighborhood of about 100 homes. Forest Rim is the highest-elevation neighborhood on the mountain.
“The earth essentially just decided it was time,” Sheldon Lynne, city deputy public works engineering director, told City Council members Monday. “It couldn’t hold itself up any longer.”
The landslide is inching down Squak Mountain near a switchback along Mountainside Drive Southwest, less than a mile downhill from Forest Rim. The section of displaced hillside is about 200 feet across and stretches about 100 feet from end to eroded end.
Only a road shoulder is closed so far, and the roadway remains open to traffic. The landslide also eroded soil from beneath guardrail posts along the street.
April 19, 2011
Opening is delayed until at least June
The spindly pedestrian crossover bridging the westbound on-ramp at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 is at least $200,000 over budget and not expected to open until June, months after the expected completion date.
Blame unstable soil at the site and soggy conditions for delaying the connector from April until early summer. The additional construction could increase the $6 million project budget. City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said planners could ask the City Council to authorize additional dollars for the project, depending on the remaining construction.
“We would like to get it done sooner, but we recognize that this has been a very wet winter, and it just keeps going,” he said.
The long-planned connector at the bustling intersection experienced a construction slowdown last fall after crews needed to dig deeper to find a solid layer to support the piers beneath the bridge. The rain-soaked winter and spring also caused construction to proceed at a slower pace.
Plans call for the completed connector to include a separate 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramps. Crews also modified the existing state Route 900 overpass to install a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing.
The city relied on federal dollars and a $400,000 grant from Sound Transit to offset most of the project cost. The city contributed about $341,000 for the connector and is responsible for cost overruns.
Construction on the project started last July.
April 12, 2011
The chain-link fence erected along the Southeast Black Nugget Road behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot raised questions among motorists concerned about possible landslides.
City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said municipal crews added the fence late last month as a precaution amid the risk for small landslides. The city is also addressing long-term issues related to the retaining wall along the same stretch.
“We’re trying to investigate what we can do to stop the earth movement above the wall, which is a separate issue from the wall itself,” Brock said. “The wall is in no danger of coming down, it’s just that it’s got a reduced lifespan because of some of things that were not done per plan.”
Instability on the slope is common after soaking rains, but city officials said the slippage does not pose a risk to the residences perched above Southeast Black Nugget Road. Way Back Inn, a Renton nonprofit organization, owns the land on the slope.
“It seems like this year, we’ve had a lot more water. It’s moving a little bit more and it’s got some fluidity to it that it didn’t have before,” Brock said. “So, as a precautionary measure, we closed the sidewalk just on the off chance that something might fall over the top of the wall there.”
Crews also planted stakes in the hillside to track shifts in the slope. The fence and the stakes attracted attention from Klahanie resident Sandi Dong.
January 18, 2011
Motorists continue to discover Fourth Avenue Northwest, a shortcut beneath Interstate 90, and the city plans to start counting the number of vehicles using the undercrossing as early as next month.
The undercrossing opened to traffic in mid-December after the city resolved legal challenges and concerns about the potential impact on the environment. Mayor Ava Frisinger, flanked by the crown-and-robe-clad King and Queen of Issaquah, Nathan Perea and Renee Zimmerman, snipped the ribbon on the road during a Jan. 11 ceremony.
Construction on the undercrossing started last May. Read more
January 13, 2011
December 14, 2010
The city, Costco and other landowners could take initial steps in the months ahead to upgrade roads in North Issaquah.
City and Costco planners funded a transportation study in March to determine ways to better link the Pickering Place area into the street grid. The just-released preliminary report suggests tens of millions in transportation spending for road extensions and additional lanes to improve access to the dense business cluster just north of Interstate 90 and state Route 900. If the proposal progresses, any construction is years in the future.
“There is a lack of access to a significant portion of that that really limits the economic activity in there and the potential within that area for economic development,” transportation consultant Steve Nolen said in a Nov. 30 presentation to City Council members.
The city and Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, split the $63,736 cost to study potential transportation enhancements in the area near the bustling Costco warehouse and corporate headquarters. Costco employs about 2,700 people in Issaquah. Read more
November 23, 2010
The city has opened upgraded bike lanes and a pedestrian trail along Newport Way Northwest — again.
Crews completed the initial upgrade about a year ago and city leaders gathered on a rain-slicked afternoon in October 2009 to open the trail from state Route 900 to Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, the Issaquah city line.
The project ended up before the City Council months later, after drivers attempted to use the upgraded shoulder as another traffic lane.
So, after much debate, the council decided to redo the project. Crews completed the overhaul in early November. The project added bike lanes in both directions, plus a pedestrian path separated by curbs from the north side of the roadway along Newport Way Northwest. Read more
November 23, 2010
The long-planned Interstate 90 Undercrossing — a road link between north and south Issaquah — is due to open in December, about a month later than planners had estimated.
The delay came when the installation of bridge safety railings lasted longer than expected.
City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said the entire connector could open by the week of Dec. 6 if no construction problems arise. The city planned open Southeast 62nd Street and 221st Place Southeast — streets closed during construction — Nov. 24. Read more
November 16, 2010
Unstable soil causes crews to dig deeper
The trail connector under construction at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 hit a bump in the road last month, as crews had to dig deeper to reach a sturdier soil layer to support a series of concrete-and-steel piers.
City engineers said the extra digging is not expected to delay the project. The connector — arranged along almost one-third of a mile from the state Route 900 boardwalk on the south side of the interstate to the Sammamish Trail on the north — should be completed in April.
Crews needed to find a solid surface to support the piers and had to dig 20 feet to 30 feet deeper than initially estimated to find a bearing layer. The snag prompted the Issaquah contractor C. A. Carey Corp. to bring in additional equipment to complete the digging.
“It’s still kind of a concern, but they’re continuing to work and we’re working through the issues between us and WSDOT and the contractor,” city Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said.
Plans call for the completed connector to feature a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramps, plus a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing on the existing state Route 900 overpass.
October 26, 2010
Contractor steered clear of planned road closures
The state project to remake the cramped East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 has been completed on time and under budget to the delight of drivers and transportation officials.