April culvert project to cause delays on Coal Creek Parkway

April 4, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

UPDATED — 10:10 a.m. April 12, 2013

UPDATE: The Bellevue culvert project is now set to begin in May, not at the end of April. Learn more at www.bellevuewa.gov/coalcreekbridge.htm.

A city of Bellevue project to replace an aging culvert underneath Coal Creek Parkway will reduce a portion of the busy arterial to one lane in each direction, beginning at the end of April.

The culvert will be replaced with a 39-foot-wide bridge that is expected to protect the roadway, improve public safety, provide a new pedestrian walkway and improve fish passage.

Construction will start in late April with single-lane closures during off-peak travel hours. By early May, however, Coal Creek Parkway will be reduced to one lane in each direction for 24 hours a day until December, project engineer Bruce Jensen said.

The project requires two phases of construction during which Coal Creek Parkway will be reduced to one lane in each direction between just south of Forest Drive and just north of Southeast 60th Street.

During the first phase, April through November, crews will build the west half of the bridge and relocate underground utilities.

Then, from December to March 2014, crews will reopen the road to its customary four lanes of traffic.

During phase two, April through November 2014, the roadway will again be reduced to one lane in each direction so crews can build the east half of the bridge and complete the project by the end of November.

The culvert is about 45 years old and has seen better days, Jensen said. He added that it was damaged in a December 2007 storm and the bottom of the culvert is corroded.

The city of Bellevue is aware of the traffic concerns that may come with the Coal Creek Parkway reduction, which is why Jensen attended a Newcastle City Council meeting in January to give a presentation about the project.

As a result of those concerns, Bellevue plans to encourage the contractor to complete work as soon as possible, by rewarding the firm with payment if it completes the project early, Jensen said in January.

“We think that that will be an effective way to make sure they’re efficient and the roadway gets back open as soon as possible,” he said.

The city of Newcastle is doing all it can to mitigate the bottleneck that the closure is expected to cause, including changing the timing of some traffic signals. Ultimately, though, drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes, especially during the morning and evening commutes.

Public Works Director Mark Rigos suggests that residents use east to west routes, such as Southeast 88th Place or Newcastle Way to get to Interstate 405. Drivers could also travel south down Coal Creek Parkway toward Northeast Sunset Boulevard in Renton to reach the freeway. In Bellevue, Rigos suggests commuters use Southeast 60th Street through the Newport Hills community, or Forest Drive to avoid the construction.

If possible, drivers are also encouraged to carpool or alter their commute so that it coincides with off-peak travel hours, Rigos said.

 

What to know

The city of Bellevue’s project to replace an aging culvert underneath Coal Creek Parkway will cause closures on a segment of the busy road, during two phases of construction.

The first phase is set to begin in late April, when the road will be reduced to one lane in each direction between just south of Forest Drive and just north of Southeast 60th Street, until December.

Residents can stay informed about the project and sign up for alerts at www.bellevuewa.gov/coalcreekbridge.htm.

Travelers can also watch for updates on the city of Bellevue’s Facebook page or on its Twitter account, @bellevuewa.

 

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