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Greenbank highway work starts

"Work on a section of Highway 525 south of Greenbank is scheduled to get under way this week. The section spans Classic Road and covers about 1 1/2 miles. It's part of an ongoing highway-widening project being done by the Washington Department of Transportation. Land clearing along the sides of the highway has been going on for some time, but Marlin Lenssen, project engineer for the department, said all the tree removal done so far has been performed by property owners and not by DOT. The first actual department work wasn't due to start until this week.There'll be lots of excavation on the west side of the highway and fill on the east side, Lenssen said about the first phase of construction. We'll be moving dirt across the road for quite a while.That means some delays for motorists, but no road closures, said Lenssen.After the dirt gets moved, telephone company workers will have to come in and relocate buried cables before any construction work can be done on the road itself. The department had hoped to get an earlier start on the project this summer but all DOT projects were put on hold for a while after the passage of Initiative 695 in November. The initiative eliminated the motor vehicle excise tax and about $750 million annually from the state budget.Looking at the amount of work that needs to be done, Lenssen said he doubts much actual road work will be completed before fall weather shuts down construction for the year. More likely, crews won't begin removing asphalt and rebuilding the road until next spring or summer.Once construction begins, plans call for the highway to be widened, flattened and repaved. A right turn lane will be added at Classic Road and transit pullouts will be built on either side of the highway just past the intersection with Classic. Lenssen said the 1 1/2-mile project will be done in three sections, with each section being completed before the next one is started. At the end, a final layer of asphalt will be added over the entire length.One more highway section from the end of the current project north to about Resort Road is also due for widening. It will go to bid in October or November of this year, Lenssen said. Work could start on that section next spring.When that section is finished, Highway 525 will have been widened from north of the Greenbank Farm all the way to Freeland. "

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