Work to begin next month of First Street/Avenue D signal
SNOHOMISH - The City Council awarded a contract to B&L Utilities to build a traffic signal at First Street and Avenue D for $787,915.
All of the bids came in higher than the city’s engineer’s estimate of $732,950. The contract was approved at the council’s April 3 meeting.
The project is scheduled to begin next month and be completed early next year.
A state Transportation Improvement Board grant will fund 70 percent to 80 percent of the project, which will take approximately eight months to build. The city’s portion will be covered with traffic impact fees and utility funds.
The current four-way stop intersection will be replaced with traffic signals and streetscape improvements such as landscaping, stamped concrete crosswalks and decorative street signs.
The project has been met with opposition from some community members who say a traffic signal doesn’t belong in the historic downtown and wouldn’t help traffic congestion
The city’s transportation plan lists the traffic light as a top priority because of how poorly the intersection performs. The functionality of an intersection is measured by how long of a delay vehicles might experience during the peak rush hour. The performance is rated Level of Service (LOS) A (meaning free-flowing traffic) through F (meaning significant delays).
The intersection was listed as LOS F when the city did a 2004 transportation survey, meaning vehicles sometimes wait 50 seconds or longer to cross through the intersection. The signal is expected to improve the intersection to LOS B.
A staff report prepared for the council says that sometimes traffic backs up past the railroad tracks on the south side of the intersection.
Extensive aesthetic improvements are being built as part of the project because the intersection is a main entryway into town.
“Along with the new features produced by the CSO project including the beautiful new pump station building and the First Street improvements, this project will help to create the feel and appeal of a gateway entrance into the downtown community,” the staff report says.
Pedestrian safety was a key consideration in the project design, and it will include a number of traffic-calming features such as curb bulb-outs, large sidewalks, stamped concrete crosswalks and landscaped areas on each quadrant of the intersection. The eastern crosswalk on First Street will be raised to further promote safe, cautious driving through the intersection.
The project is scheduled to begin next month, and phase 1 will take three months, and a three-month break between phase 1 and phase 2 is scheduled to allow for equipment to be delivered. There will be some closures throughout the project.
A project page on the city’s website will be regularly updated with information about closures and other notifications, project engineer Andy Sics said. The city aims to minimize the frequency and duration of the closures, Sics said.
The contract with B&L Utilities includes a 10 percent contingency and is not to exceed $867,000.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published April 11, 2012