City Council committee eyes next steps for Hwy 99, waterfront connector projects

An artist’s rendering of the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project.

The Edmonds City Council had a chance Tuesday night to dig into the scope of work for a conceptual plan to “extend the recent transformation of Highway 99 in Shoreline through Edmonds.” Building on the Highway 99 subarea plan approved by the city council last week, the project would map out the next phase of work on the two-and a-quarter-mile stretch of state highway that runs through Edmonds.

The council also talked about next steps for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project, aimed at providing an emergency, single-lane structure over the railroad tracks as an alternative to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton Streets

The council’s Parks, Planning and Public Works Committee reviewed both proposals Tuesday night in preparation for consideration at the full council’s Sept. 5 business meeting.

For Highway 99, city staff is asking the council to consider whether to authorize Mayor Dave Earling to sign an agreement with consultant SCJ Alliance for the work, officially titled the Highway 99 Gateway-Revitalization Project.

(As outlined in the scope of work draft, the Gateway refers to  gateway treatments that will create distinct entry points at either end of the Highway 99 corridor.)

The recommended consultant has experience working on Highway 99 projects south of Seattle, and some of the subconsultants included on the Edmonds project had worked on the Shoreline stretch of the highway, said City Engineer Rob English.

“This is the start of a huge project,” English said. “We’ve got a lot of opportunities, so we’re looking forward to it.”

According to the proposed scope of the work, the project would develop Highway 99 corridor planning elements that would identify improvements to be made, as well as the associated project costs, environmental documentation and right of way costs.

Elements to be considered include wider replacement sidewalks, new street lighting, raised center medians, “attractive and safe” crosswalks, better stormwater management, targeted utility replacements, potential undergrounding of overhead utilities, landscaping, “and other improvements to identify the area as being in Edmonds,” the scope of work said.

Assuming approval by the council Sept. 5, the consultant will develop a conceptual corridor plan for Highway 99 between 244th Street Southwest and 212th Street Southwest, which extends across several entities, including the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, Snohomish County and the Washington State Department of Transportation, English said.

The estimated project cost of $467,517 will be funded out of the $1 million from the state transportation budget, which was advanced in 2017 from the $10 million long-term appropriation approved during the 2015 legislative session.

The overall budget also includes an additional $300,000 in real estate excise tax funds for a total of $1.3 million in funding. After the conceptual design is complete, the remaining money will be used toward funding for future stages of the project.

This initial Highway 99 conceptual work is expected to take approximately seven to eight months, during which time the city will be looking for additional grant funding for future portions of the project, English said.

One of the unknowns at this point is whether the grant funding formula, including the match required by the requesting agency, will change under President Donald Trump’s administration, said Public Works Director Phil Williams.

Shoreline was successful in acquiring state and federal grant money for its $121 million, three-mile Highway 99 project, which took 11 years to complete. Williams estimated that the Edmonds project would cost about $100 million and would take about 10 years.

The Parks, Planning and Public Works Committee also discussed a staff recommendation for Parametrix to serve as the consultant for pre-design and permitting activities for another major City of Edmonds initiative, the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project.

The state Legislature earlier this year approved initial project funding of $700,000 for continued design, environmental and permitting work for the waterfront connector project. The proposal comprises an overpass linking Sunset Avenue at Edmonds Street to Brackett’s Landing Park.

The connector would provide an emergency, single-lane structure over the railroad tracks as an alternative to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton Streets. This approximately $29 million project will provide access for emergency vehicles, as well as ferry off-loading or on-loading with the assistance of traffic control officers when train breakdowns block the two crossings.

The connector project proposal followed a 14-month alternatives study spearheaded by the Mayor’s Waterfront Access Advisory Task Force, which was followed by four public meetings before final recommendations were made.

Regarding next steps for both items, the council committee members — chair Neil Tibbott and councilmember Kristiana Johnson — agreed to refer the Highway 99 proposal to the council’s Sept. 5 business meeting for a brief presentation, followed by council action. The waterfront connector project may also appear on the Sept. 5 agenda, pending the completion of required paperwork.

The committee also agreed to place on the Sept. 5 consent agenda final acceptance of the city’s 220th Street Southwest overlay project from 84th to 76th Avenues West.

There will be no city council meeting next Tuesday, Aug. 29.

— By Teresa Wippel

  1. The dahlia is the official Edmonds flower, so let’s make banners and artwork along Hwy 99 reflect this to clearly identify Edmonds. Dahlia artists arise, speak up!!!

  2. Since February 1925, when the Floretum Club nominated the Dahlia as the City’s flower. That’s how long the dahlia has reigned as our official flower.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Jim. We just posted our annual story inviting readers to submit their photos (which was your idea, started in 2014).

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