News

Pac Highway hits a bump aesthetically

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

Burying utility lines has been one of the major components of the multi-phased Pacific Highway South road improvement project in Federal Way, but it appears the high cost of undergrounding will leave one segment of the corridor with above-ground wires.

Since the road reconstruction began four years ago, crews have buried utility lines along most of the stretch of highway, added HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) and turn lanes, and installed curbs, gutters, sidewalks, lighting and solid medians.

The project is now in the fourth of five phases, with Phase 5 wrapping up the section of road from South 356th to South 344th streets. The total cost of the improvement project is expected to be $78 million.

Over the years, the state Department of Transportation has agreed to most of the design elements the city has requested for the corridor.

In 2001, project planners drew up designs for the segment of Pacific between South 272nd and South 284th streets. That section was considered DOT’s jurisdiction then, but on Jan. 1 this year, the city annexed the area.

During design discussions this year about that stretch of the highway, DOT drew the line at burying the utility cables and installing trees in the planter strip. City officials said the state didn’t want to pay for

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