Outside the Snohomish County Road Maintenance Shop on Thursday, March 7, 2024 in Arlington, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Outside the Snohomish County Road Maintenance Shop on Thursday, March 7, 2024 in Arlington, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

County plans $35M redevelopment of Arlington maintenance yard

Snohomish County Public Works is kicking off a project to replace buildings, along with other projects, at a maintenance facility in Arlington.

ARLINGTON — A $35 million project is in the works to redevelop a Snohomish County Public Works facility near Arlington Municipal Airport.

The 17½-acre plot is home to Snohomish County Road Maintenance District 1, which handles roadwork in the area. Snohomish County also houses vehicle fleet services at the site. The facility also is used as an emergency operations center during disasters.

Public Works needs more space for its road operations and seasonal workers tasked with helping with maintenance. The current facility does not have enough office and storage space — and the updates are badly needed, Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said.

“It’s got like duct tape and toothpicks, like that’s what we’re using to keep this thing together,” Snyder said.

The facility is home to 68 staff members year-round, a number that nearly doubles in the summer. Seasonal workers pick up summer tasks, like mowing. In the winter, the facility helps with plowing and snow operations.

The project will add or remodel 15,000 square feet of office space. Currently, some small temporary “modular” buildings serve as a gathering space for crew members.

The facility has been in use since 1973. When it was built, the county had fewer employees.

“I’ve been here for four years and one of the first things I was asked was, ‘When are you going to replace our buildings?’” Snyder said. “It’s going to be a real helpful operations center for us.”

Years of heavy equipment use at the site have polluted the soil. So the county plans to do remediation work as part of the project.

A 2-acre stormwater pond in the middle of the property also presents an issue, Snyder said. The county plans to “vault it” — that is, bury it — which will have the benefit of cutting down on detours to get around the site.

The project is using a new contracting method called “Progressive Design-Build” — “a qualifications-based selection,” as opposed to hiring the lowest bidder, said Becky Blankenship a vice president at Hill International.

“In traditional methods, the designer is working in their own bubble with the owner and you have no input on costs, or anything like that, until after it gets handed over to the contractor,” Blankenship said.

Progressive Design-Build brings all parties together before the design process. Usually, companies bid on a project after designs are finished. But this way, designers and builders can work together on the plan.

Once construction begins, the method can cut down on costly change work orders, Blankenship said, which can lengthen a project’s timeline and cost.

It’s the first time the county has used the strategy.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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