Everett, landowner reach agreement to fix road

EVERETT — City leaders have set in motion long-awaited fixes to Lowell-Larimer Road, which has been narrowed to one lane by a landslide for more than a year.

The popular route skirting the southwest Snohomish Valley may not return to normal until next spring, however, if wet weather puts an early end to the construction season.

Before any work begins, the city must complete a bidding process. Then, the contractor needs time to get ready. By then, it could be well into October, public works director Dave Davis said.

“It still is a project that’s difficult to do in wet weather,” Davis said. “So if we have a dry fall, particularly an extended dry fall, we should be able to get the work substantially completed before the winter. If we get an early wet season, we may need to postpone the project until early next spring.”

Before moving ahead with the project, the city needed to reach an agreement to use part of a farmer’s property next to the landslide area.

That happened Wednesday with a 5-0 vote by the City Council. The agreement addresses utilities, compensation for tree removal and effects on farming, among other issues.

The council on Wednesday also authorized spending $800,000 for the repair work.

Before the lane closure, the city counted an average of about 2,100 vehicles per day both directions on Lowell-Larimer Road.

The landslide, during the summer of 2011, caused erosion under a 230-foot segment of the road shoulder. The city closed one lane of the road as a precaution.

The site of the slide is adjacent to Hugh Henrickson’s farm, where he raises beef cattle.

The city needs access to about an acre of Henrickson’s property to work on the road repair.

Henrickson has said that a sticking point in negotiations, for him, has been getting the city to fix a drainage problem.

Water is running from a nearby hillside onto his land. He said the flooding started when the city installed a drain under the roadway a dozen years ago.

On Wednesday, Henrickson thanked the mayor, the City Council and city staff for working on a solution.

“We’ve finally made a lot of headway,” he said. “I think we’re ready to go. We just got to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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