News

Pacific Highway upgrades continue

By JACINDA HOWARD

The Mirror

The city expects the third of four phases of the Pacific Highway South HOV Lanes Project in Federal Way to begin the week of May 14.

The $15 million “phase three” project will bring changes and construction to Pacific Highway South between South Dash Point Road and South 283rd Street, said Brian Roberts, street systems project engineer. The project is expected to be completed in September 2008, he said.

The entire HOV lanes project is part of a larger King County effort called Pacific Highway South Corridor Improvement Project. This will improve the flow of traffic, make driving on the highway safer and promote a region-wide transit network, Roberts said.

Other cities along the Pacific Highway South corridor have completed or are scheduled to complete road improvements by 2009 as well, he said.

This specific phase of Federal Way’s project will result in the modification of Pacific Highway South from a five-lane road to a seven-lane road. Two general-purpose lanes and one HOV lane will run in each direction. A median with a left-turn lane where necessary will also be present, he said.

Multiple retaining and block walls will also be constructed along Pacific Highway South. These are meant to protect the privacy of residents along the highway and will contain land displaced by the widening of the road, Roberts said. These walls will be as tall as 18 feet in some places.

Other improvements include:

• A landscaped median, sidewalks and planter strips spanning the length of the project.

• Provisions for left-turn lanes and U-turns instead of two-way turn lanes.

• The placement of utility distribution lines underground, relocation of overhead transmission lines and a new traffic signal at the intersection of Dash Point Road and Redondo Way.

Completion

Phase three of the overall project will be completed in four stages. It will be carried out by SCI Infrastructure LLC. All businesses and residents along this area of Pacific Highway South have been notified of the construction, Roberts said.

“We don’t expect anyone to be happy, but we will make our best efforts to eliminate noise and disruptions,” Roberts said.

The city and SCI plan to provide as much safety as possible to all residents, business owners and motorists while these stages are in progress. Dangers arise when drivers get frustrated and act irrationally, causing unsafe conditions, said Mike Kangas of SCI.

Large plastic barrels with reflective tape will be used to define lanes. Signs notifying motorists of the construction occurring ahead, as well as off-duty police officers to flag intersections will also be used when appropriate, he said. Also, a temporary traffic control will be placed near the work on Dash Point Road.

Lane closures and restrictions will be in place. In each direction two lanes may be funneled to one lane, said Marwan Salloum, street systems manager. All but one northbound lane of traffic may be closed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and all but one southbound lane may be closed between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Roberts said.

One lane in each direction may be closed between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. No lanes will be closed from 6 to 7 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, he said.

Accesses to businesses will remain open at all times. Blue signs measuring 24 inches by 30 inches and reading “business access” will be clearly present to direct customers to businesses in the construction zone.

The city is concerned with keeping all affected by this project up to date on its progress, Roberts said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: (253) 925-5565 or jhoward@fedwaymirror.com.

To determine what stage the construction is in and what changes can be expected, visit the project Web site at www.cityoffederalway.com/Page.aspx?page=624 or receive weekly updates on the project by e-mailing Roberts at brian.roberts@cityoffederalway.com.

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