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By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

Crash leaves light pole dangling over a wetland

Repair will disrupt traffic on Bothell-Everett Highway

 

Last updated 1/30/2021 at 9:42am

Jana Hill

A streetlight that was struck in a collision will be repaired in about a month, and those repairs will disrupt traffic on Bothell-Everett Highway. The light is leaning toward a pond across from The Reserve apartments, in Mill Creek.

The oddly placed evening glimmer dangling over a wetland off Bothell-Everett Highway in Mill Creek is going to shine from above again, in about a month.

That glow is from a light post that was knocked over a couple of months ago across from The Reserve apartments. The City Council heard a presentation on the status of the streetlight on Jan. 26.

Public Works Supervisor Matthew Combs told the city council that the contractor for the project has been secured. The contract is in the approval stage right now, Combs told the council.

“Once the contract is signed a streetlight pole will actually take about two months to have installation of the new concrete base and then putting the light on should go fairly quickly,” Combs said. “There will be a slight impact of traffic for a few hours ... I would probably expect multiple days, just for the nature of their equipment to work."

A vehicle collision tore the base of the streetlight post from the soil and took out part of a guardrail, leaving the streetlight hanging over a pond like an uprooted metal flower.

The light still works, said Mike Todd, director of Public Works for the city of Mill Creek. The city has been getting calls on why it is still damaged, but this repair is non-standard.

"If they just broke the pole, this would have been easy to fix," Todd said. A broken metal pole could be taken care of "in a few days," he said. But for the damage to this pole, "it toppled the whole thing over. That has become a bigger deal."

The light was hit "on Oct. 5, by a car, as a result of a multiple car accident," according to an email from Matthew Combs, Public Works Supervisor for the City.

The City does not have the capability to repair and replace a streetlight that size, including the cement base structure, Combs wrote.

Todd did not have the information on the height of the streetlight, but it was tall enough to illuminate all lanes, so he gave a rough estimate of 40 feet high.

"The damage was reviewed by Snohomish County and they determined that they are unable to assist in the repair," Combs wrote. Once all those resources were exhausted, the job was put out for bid to "the limited number of contractors that do this type of work. All bids have been received and are under review. A timeline for the repair will be available most likely in a couple weeks."

Todd said the pole is sloping toward wetland, but that won't be a permitting issue for completion of repairs. The fix will occur far enough away that a permit won't be needed.

He said if the city had to get a wetland permit, "this would also be more difficult, because you'd have to do it during the dry season."

The city gathered bids for the project, which will include some disruption to traffic on Bothell-Everett Highway. Closure of a lane on the highway is assured once work begins.

"We can pick the vendor that we think is going to do the best job and has the best value, then it's going to be a matter of what their schedule is. So, if they are just waiting to do something, it could be in a couple of weeks, but I bet it'd be more like a month."

The start-time for the project depends on "who we pick and how busy they are, and what else they're doing. So this time of year, there may be a bigger emergency somewhere else."

Two companies have submitted bids so far. Staff will need City Council approval, if the cost is more than $50,000, Todd said.

"We had a third party that said, 'Thanks, but no thanks, we don't do that kind of work. So, I think I'm not sure if we're looking for another bid or if that's good enough," he said.

He said they had to find a contractor who does "electrical kinds of things, typically, but in this case, there's a big hunk of concrete that is getting replaced."

The foundation for the streetlight was knocked out of the ground, which is part of what makes the repairs more specialized.

"This is probably a foot and a half by foot and a half square and four feet deep, or something like that big hunk of concrete ... torn out of the ground on a slope, down towards a wetland," he said.

A bigger foundation for the concrete base may be required upon replacement, "because something's got to hold it up on all four sides," Todd said.

Jana Hill

The pole viewed for walkers traversing toward the Gateway area of Mill Creek: the pole is leaning toward the pond.

When repair does begin, traffic disruption will occur. The city will need to block off a lane of traffic on Bothell-Everett Highway for "however many days they've got a big crane out there to pick this thing up. And then they'll probably be able to build the forms and pour the concrete without a whole lot of work.

"But there's a bunch of traffic control involved with getting the old one out, and getting the new one in. And once the new foundation is in, putting up the pole is pretty easy," Todd said.

The ballpark estimate for repairs is somewhere between $25,000 to $50,000, Todd said. That cost is currently the City's bill. But the City will file a claim with the car insurance, for the driver involved in the collision, Todd said. He said the hope is that insurance will cover the cost of repair.

"That's kind of our expectation," he said.

This story was updated on Jan. 28.

 

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