City’s road construction projects to be completed as planned
BATTLE GROUND — Two ongoing road construction projects in the city of Battle Ground are proceeding on schedule toward completion.
The South Parkway Improvement Project and Phase 1 of the SR-502/503 Congestion Relief Project have been underway for much of the spring, summer and early fall.
The South Parkway Improvement Project began the week of March 6, and is designed to address ongoing issues with the South Parkway road surface, according to Bonnie Gilberti, public information officer for the city of Battle Ground.
South Parkway’s uneven and deteriorated road surface was familiar to many Battle Ground residents for many years, and the city knew it needed addressing. However, with a cost of approximately $5.6 million to make the necessary repairs, the city did not have the funds to improve the road on its own, Gilberti said.
About 12 years ago, Gilberti said that the city began to try to gain state and federal grant money to complete the project, but it was only within the last several years that the city received a grant to repair South Parkway from the State Transportation Improvement Board.
The project is essentially two projects in one, Gilberti said. From East Main Street south to Rasmussen Boulevard, South Parkway underwent a “mill and fill” procedure, where the top two inches of road surface was removed and repaved.
From Rasmussen to Eaton Boulevard, South Parkway needed to be completely rebuilt, Gilberti said. On that portion of the road, the road’s base itself was failing, and patchwork would not improve it.
A long standing allegation was that South Parkway’s surface was so degraded because the modern road was built on a base of plank boards from the original surface that had deteriorated, Gilberti said. However, she noted that the city was not able to verify that claim.
“We definitely knew the base was failing,” Gilberti said, and the main reason was that it was not engineered to modern standards.
For the portion of South Parkway from Rasmussen to Eaton Boulevard, sidewalks, new stormwater facilities and some new sewer improvements were also made.
There are several stages of completion for the project, Gilberti said. The first is substantial completion, wherein the contractor notifies the city that they believe the project is done, and the city needs to come inspect it.
Once any issues from the city’s inspection are remedied, the project reaches physical completion, at which point all materials and equipment are removed and the site is cleaned up.
Gilberti said that the South Parkway Improvement Project was scheduled to take about nine to 10 months from its beginning in March to completion. The project has not yet reached substantial completion as based on the planned timeline.
“We are still on schedule,” Gilberti said.
The second major construction project in Battle Ground is Phase 1 of the SR-502/503 Congestion Relief Project.
When the Fred Meyer was constructed in 1999, a traffic signal was built at the intersection of 12th Avenue and Main Street for access to the retail store, with an understanding between the store, the city and the state that increased growth would eventually cause congestion at that intersection, Gilberti said.
Phase 1 of the Congestion Relief Project is designed to eliminate part of that congestion. The major portion of construction has revolved around extending Northwest 5th Way, which runs just north of the Fred Meyer, to SR-503, providing access from the main highway.
The construction took place over the summer and into fall, and NW 5th Way now is paved up to SR-503, and a right hand deceleration lane has been added. However, the road is not yet open, and work has not been happening for several weeks.
Work on the project cannot proceed until the city obtains an order of Jersey barriers to divide the lanes of SR-503 and prevent left turns into or out of 5th Way, Public Works Director Scott Sawyer said.
According to Sawyer, preventing left turns from SR-503 onto NW 5th Way and preventing left turns from NW 5th Way onto SR-503 was a requirement made by the state.
Once the barriers are received, work on the rest of the project “will proceed fairly quickly,” Sawyer said.
According to Gilberti, the barriers are made to order, and take some time before delivery. Once an order is received, the concrete barriers must be left for 28 days to harden, and then must be tested by the Washington State Department of Transportation for strength.
Gilberti said that this apparent delay was planned from the beginning of the project.
“There’s no delay in this project,” Gilberti said, “people just can’t see the work that’s being done.”
Sawyer said that the barriers are expected to be delivered towards the end of November.
Once the barriers are obtained and in place, Sawyer said that the next part of Phase 1 of the Congestion Relief Project will begin.
The traffic signal at 12th Avenue and Main Street, leading into Fred Meyer, will be removed, Sawyer said.
According to Gilberti, a median will be placed in the center of main street to limit the traffic flow on 12th Avenue to right turns onto Main Street and right turns from Main onto 12th only.
While this will restrict how traffic coming from the west into Battle Ground can access Fred Meyer, Gilberti said that a left turn lane on NW 15th Avenue will be extended, to allow eastbound traffic access to Fred Meyer via NW 1st Street.
The entire 3-phase SR-502/503 Congestion Relief Project, estimated at $7.7 million, will be funded by the state’s Connecting Washington program.