76th and 212th: A Look Into the Bane of My Ability to be on Time

By Kaiona Apio

From your alarm not going off, to your car not starting, the construction outside our school is probably on top of the list of reasons you’re late to class. It is for everyone. However, the majority of the student body is not aware of the details of the project. City Capital Projects Manager Jaime Hawkins and Transportation Engineer Bertrand Hauss elaborated on the issue in an attempt to educate students about their project.

Designs for the project started about 3-4 years ago, before most of us attended Edmonds Woodway. When traveling north or southbound on 76th Ave W, drivers could not move concurrently and were forced to experience long wait times at traffic lights. This project will add a left turn lane, reducing wait time at stop lights from about 60 seconds to about 30 seconds. By minimizing the length of this light, students and pedestrians should experience more frequent street crossings, which should decrease the occurrence of jaywalking. By spring, new bike lanes will be added along 76th, so bike riders will have a safer way to travel. There are other benefits to this project as well, such as the replacing and updating stormwater pipes and sewer lines. Grease from surrounding restaurants and businesses at the intersection has been introduced into the sewer lines and has therefore created clogging and build-up because the current pipes were installed during the 1980s and manufactured out of concrete, a substance to which grease adheres, causing plumbing issue. This project aims to install polymer pipes because polymer and grease do not create as much friction upon one another and should allow smoother travel throughout the drainage and sewer systems.

On April 10th 2017, Marshbank Construction broke ground for the project. The construction phase had an estimated finishing date of November 17. Nevertheless, weather constraints have obstructed the progress of the construction. Contractually, the workers cannot pave the roads unless the temperature is above 35℉, as the pavement cannot dry correctly if the temperature is below 35℉. Due to these issues, paving has been postponed until after winter, and the construction is now estimated to end in the spring of 2018.

Overall, the budget for this project is about $7.5 million. However, about 10 percent of the budget is contingency. A contingency budget is a portion of the budget reserved for the funding of an unforeseen event. For example, while attempting to modernize the sewer and water systems, constructors encountered duct pipes, 4 foot wide concrete pipes protecting, in this case, Frontier cable lines. Therefore, resources used were taken from the contingency portion of the budget. An estimated 2 percent out of the 10 percent of the contingency budget will be used by the project’s completion.

Once this project has concluded, bikers should be able to travel more efficiently and safely because of added bike lanes. Wait time at stop lights should be reduced to about half the current time, allowing traffic to run more smoothly, and shorter wait times at stop lights also should allow for more frequent street crossings, in turn hopefully minimizing the amount of jaywalking through the intersection. Though it seems to be an inconvenience now, the construction should prove to be beneficial for the city of Edmonds in the long run.

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