35th Avenue SE reopened to traffic right on schedule
Last updated 3/15/2019 at Noon
After years of flooding and eight months of construction, the white lines were painted just in time to open the stretch of 35th Avenue SE along Penny Creek that had been plagued by flooding and sinking roadway since before the City of Mill Creek was incorporate.
The stark black road opened to motorists and pedestrian traffic on Monday, March 6. The $5.3 million project was completed on time, according to city officials, thanks to a relative dry winter. The busy roadway had been closed to traffic since July, with most of the cars detoured onto Seattle Hill Rd.
“This project has been years in the making for the City of Mill Creek and its residents,” said Gina Hortillosa, director of Public Works and Development Services. “The benefits of this project will be realized for generations to come.”
Interim City Manager Bob Stowe asked for a change order in the amount of $38,000 at the Feb. 26 meeting of the City Council which he said would at allow the project to be completed by the March 15 timetable. Stowe said that the total amount of the change orders was well under his $50,000 purchasing authority.
“These change orders provide us with the best opportunity to reopen the road before March 15th.”
The completed project is the largest road construction project in city history.
Hortillosa explained the change orders authorized modifications to the hot-mixed asphalt so that the contractor would be able to transport the paving material from the plant where it is produced to the project site. Chemicals are added and mixed into the asphalt so that it is still hot when it gets to the site.
The warmer temperatures were also a vital element in meeting the construction deadline. The director had warned that temperatures needed to be above 35 degrees if there was any hope of the chemicals providing the strength needed for the busy roadway.
The State Department of Transportation office provided $5.25 million in funding in part due to the efforts of state Sen. Steve Hobbs, who guided the project through channels in Olympia in his role as chairman of the senate Transportation Committee. Snohomish County provided a $50,000 small capital projects partnership grant in addition to funds and efforts contributed by the city. The total cost was an estimated at approximately $5,303,300.
35th Avenue SE is a three-lane minor arterial in Mill Creek that carries approximately 15,000 vehicles per day. The project raised the roadway several feet above the prior road elevation over Penny Creek to eliminate flooding, which occasionally closed the roadway over the last several years.
Work included driving 505 pin-piles up to 37 feet deep through peat into good load-bearing soil, construction of a concrete slab on top of the pilings, and then rebuilding and elevating the roadway on top of lightweight concrete fill. New sidewalks were poured for pedestrian access and landscaping was restored after the majority of the road had been secured.
Crews also removed two 54-inch culverts to restore fish passage to the area, which will also expected to improve the health of the waterway.