Bayview Road project passes milestone

It’s close, but not complete.

Island County’s biggest road project in years — the reconstruction of Bayview Road — passed a major milestone last week as construction crews began paving on the project. Even so, a finish date hasn’t been firmed up yet.

“We’re pretty close to the end. But in terms of the calendar schedule, it’s a little difficult to pin it down,” Randy Brackett, assistant county engineer.

Still, South End travelers aren’t likely to see traffic snarls like they did on Dec. 16, when Bayview Road and Marsh View Avenue were being paved simultaneously and traffic backed up on nearby roads, as well as Highway 525.

“This is that time of a project’s life when we hear from the public that they’re fatigued with the stress of traffic controls, delays getting in and out of their homes and through the project site,” he said. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but we’re trying to minimize that as much as possible.”

The paving schedule that weekend was ramped up so it could be finished early, so shoppers would have access to Bayview Corner businesses on the last full shopping weekend before Christmas. Workers finished paving by 8 p.m. that Friday evening.

“They really did jam; they did a great job of pushing that work through,” Brackett said.

“At this point, the Bayview Corner folks and the school should have a minimum of obstruction as the rest of the work occurs,” he added.

The 1.75-mile-long project has a construction price tag of $2.4 million, with more than half of the financing coming from the state. Snelson Companies, Inc. is the contractor on the project.

“Right now we’re a little under budget, but we expect to go slightly over budget, but within a 10 percent contingency,” he said.

Construction has gone well, despite several problems along the way. That includes a September day when water service was accidentally interrupted for businesses in the Cash Store, and the snarl of phone lines that was discovered after digging began.

“It was nothing short of a rat’s nest,” Brackett said, adding that the lines appeared to have been installed in a “very casual manner” over the years.

There is still work remaining on the project.

The paving must be completed, and that includes driveway approaches along the road. Guard rails and signs must be installed, and the road needs to be striped.

Permanent vegetation has to be planted, which will probably be on hold until early March.

The road rebuild will include a pilot project of using native plants along one stretch of Bayview Road, so the county can see if it can be used on other re-vegetation projects.

The project has included other innovative features as well, like using infiltration trenches and grass-lined swales to handle rainwater runoff from the road, rather than a series of stormwater detention ponds.

“This is the largest road project we’ve ever undertaken,” Brackett added. “It’s an ambitious project. I’m real pleased with the progress that we’ve had to date, understanding that it’s had a real impact on the property owners along the road and the commuters that drive through that road stretch.”

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