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Freeland trail takes shape

Within a week, Stewart Drive and Myrtle Avenue will be back in one piece after several summer-long construction projects tore them apart.

Improvements to water and stormwater systems has hampered access to Freeland Park and the surrounding area to residents and drivers since June. When the Celebrate America festival was held on July 3, work crews for a Freeland water line project had to cover large open ditches before the crowds entered the park.

But now, the mess is almost cleaned up. This week, SRV Construction put the finishing touches on a 1,420-foot long, 5-foot wide trail extending from the Freeland Park’s restrooms to Dutch Hollow Drive on Myrtle Avenue. At the same time, nearby roads excavated for water and sewer line work are being rebuilt.

“Hopefully the trail will be done by today,” said Mike Farthing, a surface water management project manager for Island County’s public works department, on Tuesday.

Work crews put the finishing touches on Stewart Drive Monday when they repaved the road, Farthing said. In an inter-local agreement with the county, the Port District of South Whidbey paid to have the trail built over a county-installed stormwater line. The total cost of the sewer line and trail was approximately $830,000. The port’s contribution to the project was $58,000, according to Rolf Seitle, president of the port’s board of commissioners.

“Our contribution to the project was relatively small,” he said.

Farthing estimated the project will be completed in about a week, with cleanup of the area, some reconstructive landscaping and paint striping on the roads to be finished in that time.

New water lines on Stewart Drive from East Harbor Road to the Freeland Park were installed in June and July. Work on the stormwater collection pipe on Stewart and Myrtle began in August and continued into this month. The collection pipes run directly into and through the Freeland Park to a new outfall structure installed just off the beach. The stormwater pipe will bring water from as far away as downtown Freeland to be piped into Holmes Harbor.

The water line replacement project was not on the Freeland Water District’s maintenance and construction schedule for 2004, but with the county building the stormwater pipe, district commissioners decided to move the project’s schedule up by a year.

The $138,000 contract to replace old lines and upgrade to an 8-inch water main was awarded to Island Construction Site and Utilities, Inc. of Oak Harbor. The project replaced pipes that dated back to the 1960s. The Freeland Water District, in an inter-local agreement with the county, paid for the construction costs, while the county paid costs of obtaining a shoreline application for the work and for a survey of the area.

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