Coal Creek Parkway phases two, three win project of the year

July 1, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

The Washington chapter of the America Public Works Association has recognized phases two and three of the Coal Creek Parkway project as the state’s project of the year for projects costing between $25 million and $75 million.

Phase two of the project stretched from Southeast 89th Place to Southeast 91st Street and phase three stretched from Southeast May Valley Road to Southeast 95th Way. Together, these phases of the project cost $41.31 million.

File The new May Creek bridge was part of the Coal Creek Parkway project.

Marshbank Construction Co. and C.A. Carey Corp. constructed the project, and CH2M Hill managed construction.

The project involved widening the old two-lane road into a five-lane arterial, replacing the 56-year-old May Creek Bridge, adding new landscaping and working around wetlands.

Construction on phases two and three began in fall 2007. Phase one of the project, from Coal Creek Parkway and Newcastle Way intersection to Southeast 89th Place, was done in 2003.

Prior to the project, congestion accounted for almost half of the accidents on Coal Creek Parkway, and rush-hour queues would stretch to almost a mile long.

Of the $41.31 million the project cost, $20.8 million came from the state Transportation Improvement Board, $8.6 million came from the state Legislature, $3.7 million came from the federal government, about $5 million came from the city of Newcastle, $2 million came from King County and $682,000 was utility work.

“Coal Creek Parkway is an example of the good things that can happen when a majority or the community and the City Council come together to leverage their best efforts with outside partners,” Councilman Sonny Putter said.

Putter was the only member of the City Council who served throughout the duration of the Coal Creek Parkway project.

“We had a signature project where 83 percent of the total cost was borne by our outside partners,” he said. “That’s huge.”

Mayor John Dulcich, who was on the City Council during the construction of phase one and the initial segments of phases two and three, said the real award is successfully completing the project.

“It’s great to be recognized, but the key is that we made a vital connection Newcastle residents benefited from,” he said. “I’m just glad the whole project’s done.”

He said the project allows residents to get to and from work quicker and easier, and hopefully allows them to spend more time with their families. He gave credit to the outside agencies that funded the project.

“We couldn’t have done it without our funding partners,” Dulcich said.

The highlights

The project’s highlights were detailed in a project overview submitted to the APWA for award consideration.

The overview highlighted construction management techniques and the project’s completion on schedule, the project’s safety during construction, public relations during the project, environmental awareness, high performance amid adverse conditions, exceptional efforts to maintain quality control and secure funding, safety after completion and aesthetics.

In regard to the project’s safety, professional safety trainers held weekly safety meetings, and the topics discussed were timely and applicable to the job site conditions, according to the city’s project overview. Also, inspectors’ safety concerns were immediately addressed, and safety meetings were held prior to the use of any new piece of equipment.

In regard to public relations, the project overview discussed the impact of the project’s website, which listed updates and traffic delays. It also recognized the public meetings regarding the project, as well as the completion ceremony that took place last August.

Environmentally, the project improved a fish passage in Boren Creek, which runs parallel to the road. Specifically, a small culvert was replaced with a 16-foot-diameter fish-passage culvert, and biologists relocated more than 100 fish prior to construction to ensure the fish were not affected by the process. Furthermore, May Creek was protected through the installations of storm water treatment systems.

The project only impacted .27 acres of wetlands, but the project enhanced 3.24 acres of wetland as compensation. This enhancement included the replacement of undersized culverts with larger fish passages, the installation of native plant riparian areas, the removal of noxious weeds and the installation of 13 bird nests.

With regard to the high performance amidst adverse conditions, the overview recognized the project’s success in installing drains within the concrete wall on the steep hillside. Ground water was discovered on the hill, which was though to be dry. The report also recognized the project’s ability to maintain the character of the rock corridor.

For quality control, the overview recognized the project’s recycling efforts, as between 90 percent and 95 percent of the materials from seven homes torn down were recycled. It also recognized the impervious surfaces used on the road’s sidewalks, and the relocation of 55,000 cubic yards of excavated dirt in the site of the planned sports park on Southeast 95th Way.

For funding, the overview recognized the city’s success in driving down its own costs in the project to 12 percent of the total.

Finally, in regard to safety after completion and aesthetics, the overview recognized the barriers between the road and the sidewalks, and the stone masonry finish on the barriers.

Bookmark and Share


Got something to say?

Before you comment, please note:

  • These comments are moderated.
  • Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and contribute to its discussion.
  • Personal attacks and/or excessive profanity will not be tolerated and such comments will not be approved.
  • This is not your personal chat room or forum, so please stay on topic.