Be prepared for two years of downtown construction as Dayton Street project begins in spring

    Attendees examine diagrams of the Dayton Street project area.

    At an informational open house Thursday evening, City of Edmonds engineers and project staff met with more than 20 interested citizens to outline the upcoming major infrastructure upgrade work between Third and Ninth Avenues along Dayton Street.

    Public Works Director Phil Williams welcomed the group.

    The increased capacity of the storm sewer system will lessen the likelihood of downtown flooding as shown in this photo taken at Fifth and Dayton after an intense storm dropped more than an inch of rain in a single hour on August 8, 2013.

    “The water supply, storm drainage and sewer pipes in downtown Edmonds are really old, with parts of the system dating from the 1920s and ’30s,” he said. “Besides not having the capacity to meet the needs of today, they’re deteriorating and increasingly at risk of failure. This is first of a series of projects to upgrade this critical infrastructure in our downtown.”

    Williams then turned the program over to Mike De Lilla, Senior Utility Engineer, who will oversee the work.

    Project lead Mike De Lilla answers questions for attendees.

    “The existing downtown storm sewer system is undersized and frequently overwhelmed during heavy rainstorms; replacing it is the main driver of this project,” De Lilla explained. “Since we’ll be digging up the streets to do this and both water and sewer pipes are at or near the end of their lifespan, it just makes sense to do these at the same time.”

    But it’s more than just underground improvements.

    In addition to replacing 3,800 feet of water pipe, 4,300 feet of sewer pipe and 3,200 feet of storm drainage pipe, the project also includes adding ADA curb ramps along Dayton at the intersections of 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Avenues, adding the missing link of sidewalk on the south side of Dayton between 7th and 8th, and repaving the roadway within the project area.

    In addition to underground utility upgrades, the work will include installing ADA compliant curb ramps at intersections along the project route. This diagram compares the existing configuration at 8th and Dayton with the planned improvements. One goal of this is to calm traffic flow by forcing motorists to slow down as they drive between the bump-outs and existing island.

    “We’ve looked at traffic and pedestrian flow patterns at these intersections and determined that in addition to adding the ADA features, some traffic calming is in order,” added Williams. “The most critical of these is intersection of Dayton and 8th. We’re therefore designing some of the ADA curb ramps with a slight bump-out that will force traffic to slow down and steer between them and the existing island in the middle of the intersection.”

    Traffic Engineer Bertrand Hauss explains to attendees how the ADA curb ramps and bump outs will help improve traffic and pedestrian safety at 8th and Dayton.

    With final design wrapping up this year, construction activity on the $7 million project is slated to start this spring. Initial efforts will be concentrated between 3rd and 4h Avenues, and move up toward 9th as the project progresses.

    “We want to be sure to get the higher-capacity drainage pipe installed on the downhill side of the run first,” added De Lilla.

    But what about traffic, business and pedestrian impacts during the project?

    “We’re working to minimize the inconvenience to our citizens, business owners and visitors during this project, while ensuring the safety of citizens and workers during construction,” De Lilla explained. “One goal is to keep the intersection at 5th and Dayton open as much as possible, and we’re hoping to keep closures down to a few days at most. Businesses will stay open.”

    Jeff Barnett, owner of Salish Sea Brewing Co., asks about project impacts on local businesses.

    During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, Salish Sea Brewing Co. owner Jeff Barnett pressed project staff for specifics on street closures, water shutoffs and the possibly of torn-up streets impeding deliveries to his business by making it inaccessible to large trucks

    Williams and the other staff assured him that one of their “highest priorities” as the project moves ahead is working together with businesses to minimize the impacts on their operations. This will include ensuring minimal interruption to water supplies for heavily water-dependent businesses like hair salons, restaurants and breweries, and ensuring that all businesses remain open and available for deliveries.

    Other measures include shifting work to weekends when possible, keeping one lane open during construction, using flaggers to control traffic flow, and arranging work to minimize sidewalk closures.

    View the PowerPoint presentation from Thursday’s open house. Citizens who have questions or desire additional information are welcome to contact project lead Mike De Lilla at 425-771-0220 or by email at [email protected].

    — Story and photos by Larry Vogel


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