Community marks parkway completion with ribbon cutting
August 13, 2009
By David Hayes
Gary Cole has lived on May Valley Road for the past 45 years. He recalls vividly the hazard that walking down the street was to cross May Creek Bridge.
“There used to be 10 or 11 inches to walk across on the old access,” he said. “A passing semi was a real danger to a person walking across.”
Cole and dozens of other locals and dignitaries celebrated a ribbon cutting mid-span of the new 290-foot May Creek Bridge July 16 that made those hazards a thing of the past. City residents like Cole can now enjoy an additional four feet on each side for pedestrians to safely cross the creek.
The occasion marked the official opening of the bridge and the completion of Phases 2 and 3 of the Coal Creek Parkway expansion project.
Mayor Ben Varon said it was a day 15 years in the making.
“This was a vision, since the city incorporated in 1984, to expand Coal Creek Parkway,” Varon told an assembled crowd of about 125 sitting mid-span of the May Creek Bridge. “This has been a labor of love that benefits both the citizens of Newcastle and those throughout the region.”
The improvements of Coal Creek Parkway in Newcastle involved widening one mile of Coal Creek Parkway between Southeast 84th Way and Southeast 95th Way/City limits and included replacing the May Creek Bridge.
The project involved two construction contracts: Phase 2, which extends from Southeast 84th Way to Southeast 91st Street, and Phase 3, which extends from Southeast 91st Street to Southeast 95th Way. These projects extend the Phase 1 improvements recently constructed between Newcastle Way and Southeast 84th Way.
The net cost of Phase 2 and 3 was $44 million, with the city being responsible for $3.4 million. After delays in securing funding, designing and acquiring the land, Doug Alder, city communications manager, said the project still came in on time and under budget.
Even the cost for the ribbon-cutting ceremony came under scrutiny, with the city budgeting $5,000. Greg Alder, city communications manager, said thanks to community members donating chairs, printing services, awards and their time, the cost for the ceremony was nearly cut in half to $2,800.
While traffic was allowed to trickle past the area throughout construction, Alder said Thursday was the first day that all four lanes were finally open on the parkway and on the bridge.
“It’s fabulous,” said Dennis Alexander, an 18-year resident of Coal Creek Parkway, who attended the ceremony with his wife Jann. “What an amazing difference. This has gone from a country road to a main arterial. It’s a relief that it’s over and we’re done with detours.”
The day culminated with the entire City Council participating with Varon in cutting the ribbon.
With the project now complete, the arterial provides commuters with a route parallel to Interstate 405 all the way from Renton to Bellevue.
Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.newcastle-news.com.