Construction is underway on a project designed to improve the safety of the Highway 99 corridor in Edmonds. City of Edmonds employees and consultants provide a virtual update during a Zoom meeting Thursday night.
Plans for Highway 99 renovations have been in the works since the Edmonds City Council approved a subarea plan for the highway and surrounding neighborhoods in 2017. The changes aim to address traffic and pedestrian safety and livability concerns for 2-mile stretch of the highway that runs through the city.
Lisa Reid, the project’s design engineer, started by describing the three main elements of the effort, officially known as the Highway 99 Gateway-Revitalization Stage 2 project. It includes construction of a landscaped center median from 244th to 210th Streets Southwest. Left-turn and U-turn pockets will replace the highway’s two-way, left-turn lanes to reduce collisions. A high-intensity activated crosswalk, or HAWK signal, will be added 600 feet north of 234th Street to increase safety when pedestrians are crossing the highway. Gateway signage will also be built at the north and south ends to welcome visitors to the city.
As reported during a June meeting officially kicking off the project, the corridor has been divided into zones for construction. Irrigation lines and conduits, electrical conduits and water service lines will be installed for the future greenery. Pavement will then be removed for the raised median, the HAWK signal installed, and finally the roadway will be striped.
The idea is to complete the work in one zone before moving on to the next, starting at the highway’s southend and then moving north. The project is expected to be finished by early 2023.
Lead Inspector Robert Hallowell updated meeting attendees Thursday night on the construction work so far, which has been focused on island 3, located between 236th and 238th Streets Southwest. The project includes approvimately 7,000 feet of low-profile barrier curb, and crews have completed just under 300 feet, “so it’s going to be a long process,” he said.
Crews are also excavating island 2 located between 238th and 240th, which is where the next stage of work will begin.
Another part of construction is installing the underground utilities, including water irrigation lines so that vegetated islands don’t have to be watered by hand.
All new pavement markings will be added at the end of the project, with crews striping the roadway the entire length of the corridor.
It’s possible that crews may need to do some night work, he added. “We don’t have it in our current schedule but if we have to do it, it will be limited to the section around Highway 104,” he said. That’s an area where the roadway is narrow, so the Washington State Department of Transportation “has required us to work at nights in that section.”
Most of the project work, however, will occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. thorugh the remainder of the corridor, Hallowell said.
He also noted that to improve traffic flow through construction areas, drivers can uset Highway 99’s bus rapid transit lane “as a general-purpose lane.”
If you want to keep updated on the project, the city every Tuesday posts construction information to the project website, and also sends out periodic email updates. Those interested in receiving those updates, or who have questions, can email HWY99Stage2@edmondswa.gov. There is also a 24-hour hotline at 425-224-2424.
— By Teresa Wippel