This updated version includes remarks from officials, neighbors and additional details and photos.
About two dozen elected officials, city employees and Lake Ballinger-area neighbors turned out Tuesday morning for the official construction groundbreaking for the Interurban Trail Project that will complete the missing Edmonds link of the 30-mile regional trail that runs from North Seattle to Everett.
The $2.4 million project, which will extend from the intersection of Highway 104 and 76th Avenue West to 228th Street in Mountlake Terrace, is expected to be complete by early 2012 or possibly sooner, said City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite.
Among those attending were Tim Manimtim and Aaron Powell, who work at Electrocom near the Edmonds/Lynnwood border and take regular lunchtime runs along the current 74th Avenue West route that follows the Edmonds side of Lake Ballinger. Dressed in running clothes, Manimtim and Powell said they had heard about the groundbreaking and decided to run to the ceremony.
The two expressed enthusiasm for the upgrades to the current 74th Avenue West roadway that follows the lake, which will be paved with new asphalt and striped with a walking area for pedestrians on the east side and shared use for cars and bicycles on the west. The roadway currently varies in width from 12 feet to 20 feet, so the goal will be to widen it to 20 feet .
In addition, a gravel-filled portion of 74th (commonly referred to as an alley) further north will also be paved and widened from 12 feet to 15 feet to accommodate access by bicyclists, local residents with driveways on the street, and garbage trucks.
“It’s nice when you don’t have to run on gravel,” Manimtim said.
Long-time Lake Ballinger residents Doug and Sherri Hortin, whose home overlooks the trail, said they are delighted that the long-anticipated project is finally being built. “We’ve lived here for over 30 years and we’ve heard people talk about it (the trail extension) for 30 years,” Doug Hortin said. “It’s exciting. It will enhance the neighborhood.”
The ceremony, held at the future site of the trail’s Ballinger Station entrance at 76th Avenue West and McAleer Way, featured brief remarks by Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper, State Department of Transportation representative Sam Schuyler and construction officials. In addition, Councilmember Steve Bernheim was in attendance, riding his bicycle to the event from downtown Edmonds.
Calling it an “exciting day for our City,” Cooper noted that just a week ago, Edmonds officials joined Sound Transit in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Sounder commuter train station on the Edmonds waterfront.
“Today we’re breaking ground for a bicycle and pedestrian trail, and that’s just one more example of the City of Edmonds’ commitment to complete streets and complete transportation access, so that our transportation infrastructure is accessible to everyone: cars, transit, bicyclists, pedestrians, people with disabilities,” Cooper said.
The mayor also noted that “a large portion” of the project funding came from state and federal grant dollars, including $577,000 from the State of Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and $750,000 from a federal congestion mitigation and air quality program.
And Cooper cited the asphalt trail’s pervious surface that will protect nearby Lake Ballinger from additional storm water runoff, adding that the project incorporate a large storm water vault with a capacity of 70,000 gallons “so we can separate oils and sediment from the water and make sure we do our best to get clean water into Lake Ballinger as the water runs off the trail.”
More details about the trail construction can be found in our earlier story here.