Work to begin this week on Edmonds link to Interurban bike/walking trail

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Lake Ballinger neighborhood residents living along or near the Edmonds segment of the Interurban Trail — running from the intersection of Highway 104 and 76th Avenue West to 228th Street in Mountlake Terrace — should be prepared for construction-related activities as the project gears up this week.

According to Bertrand Haus, City of Edmonds Transportation Engineer, residents may notice construction trucks and equipment being moved into place starting Wednesday. Erosion control work, including installation of catch basin protection, will start on Thursday. Roadway excavation is scheduled to begin next Thursday, July 21, with hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Interurban Trail Project will complete the missing Edmonds link of the 30-mile regional trail that runs from North Seattle to Everett.

The $2.4 million project — with $1.3 million coming from state and federal grant funds — is scheduled to be completed “on a 120-day construction cycle,” Haus said.  Adding time for weather and other unexpected delays, work is likely to be finished in early 2012.

A construction groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the corner of 76th Avenue West and McAleer Way at 10 a.m. next Tuesday, July 19.

Currently, bicyclists who follow the Interurban Trail north from Shoreline are directed along 76th Avenue West, where there are no official bicycle lanes. When the Edmonds link is complete, cyclists and pedestrians will have the choice of continuing along 76th, where a bike lane will be added both east and westbound. (Parking will be alternated between the east and west sides of 76th to accommodate the  bike lane, which will be tapered in and out around the parking.)

Artistic rendering of the planned Ballinger Station at 76th Avenue West and McAleer Way.

Those who want a more scenic (and slower) route can leave 76th at the PUD crossing near McAleer Way, and will be able to take a breather at Ballinger Station, a landscaped rest area for users of the Interurban Trail. Highlights include a drinking fountain, an open shelter with a park bench and two interpretive historical panels that tell the story of the Interurban Trolley Line, which ran from Seattle to Everett until 1939.

A spur trail heading west from this location will also be built to Mathey Ballinger Park, using the PUD crossing at 76th Avenue West with a 12-foot trail through what is now power line right-of-way.

The McAleer Way entrance will be marked with bollards and then follow a 12-foot-wide paved trail that will be built along the power line right-of-way that runs between homes just off McAleer, rejoining the street at 74th Avenue West. (A marked crosswalk and a four-way stop will be added here to slow down vehicle traffic.)

The trail will continue lakeside along 74th Avenue West, 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. Retaining walls will built along the route as necessary to protect trail users.

Three sets of speed cushions (wide enough to slow cars but narrow enough to allow speedy passage of fire trucks), will be installed along this portion of the 74th as a safety measure.

In the final section of the Edmonds trail, users will be directed along a now-unpaved portion of 74th (commonly referred to as an alley). That street will 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. From there, the trail will exit to a crosswalk at 228th Street Southwest, and rejoin the already-completed Mountlake Terrace portion.

Residents along the construction route have already been contacted about any impacts the construction may have on their property,  including road widening and retaining wall construction, Haus said.

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