By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer
BOTHELL — These aren’t the nails you’ll find in your dad’s toolbox.
They’re drilled into the soil rather than pounded into two-by-fours.
Each stretches between 50 and 85 feet, and there are more than 1,400 of them.
Together, they will stabilize a 95-foot-tall retaining wall leading to the University of Washington’s Bothell campus. It will be the tallest wall ever constructed by the Washington State Department of Transportation, said Patricia Michaud, a spokeswoman for the agency.
The wall is part of a $50.7 million project at the junction of I-405 and Highway 522 that will become a new entrance to the campus that includes the UW branch and Cascadia Community College.
“We are really pleased that the project is moving forward,” said Marilyn Cox, vice chancellor for administration and planning at UW Bothell. “It is obviously critical to the full realization of the campus development goals.”
The ultimate build-out of the university and community college is 10,000 students with 6,000 at the UW campus and 4,000 at Cascadia.
Enrollment at UW Bothell was around 1,600 students last spring. The goal over the next five years is to increase enrollment by 1,000 to 1,200 students.
The new entrance, which aims to improve safety and reduce congestion in the area, was required under a city of Bothell ordinance in order for the campus to grow from 3,000 students in the future.
The enrollment lid will be lifted before UW Bothell adds a $65 million to $70 million science building. That project is in the predesign stage and will require money from the Legislature.
UW Bothell plans to develop new majors and graduate programs in such fields as science, technology, engineering, math, health, social studies and foreign languages.
Getting the money from the Legislature for the construction project took years.
“When we did the ribbon cutting to break ground, that’s when it really hit me,” said Sen. Rosemary McAullife, D-Bothell. “It was hard to believe it was really happening.”
The retaining wall is not the only work the contractor, Mowat Construction Co., is doing on the project these days.
It also is working on a bridge that will carry traffic from I-405 to westbound Highway 522 over the entrance to the campus.
“They’ve already completed the bridge piers and placed five 128-foot-long bridge girders using two 150-ton cranes,” said Michaud, the transportation spokeswoman.
The project is on track to be completed in summer 2010.
It also includes widening Highway 522 just west of I-405, creating a new signalized entrance to the south end of the campus from Highway 522, and adding a new southbound lane to the I-405 offramp to westbound Highway 522.
Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.