EDMONDS — The first step toward building a $30 million project to provide emergency and pedestrian access to the city’s waterfront will soon be under way.
Initial design, environmental and permitting work on the waterfront connector project will begin with $700,000 from the state.
Plans call for the connector to begin at the intersection of Edmonds Street and Sunset Avenue, going above the railroad tracks and leading down to the Brackett’s Landing North parking lot.
It would solve a long-standing problem along the city’s waterfront. The two access points to the area, Main and Dayton streets, can be blocked for hours by trains when there’s an accident.
That prevents cars from exiting the Edmonds ferry dock and blocks police and fire agencies from responding to emergencies.
Traffic is stopped daily as up to 40 trains pass through the city. That number could increase to 100 trains a day by 2030, according to the city.
The connector will provide an emergency exit from the waterfront for ferry traffic.
One of the first tasks consultants will undertake is talking with BNSF Railway to try to determine a path for the connector over the rail line.
That will help determine some of the requirements the railroad will have for crossing its air space, said Ed Sibrel, the city’s capital projects manager.
That will be a part of the environmental review of a project that will be built near Puget Sound and in an area with development dating to the 19th century.
“The entire waterfront was covered with shake and shingle mills in the late 1800s and early 1900s,” Sibrel said. “There isn’t a square meter of natural beach down there.”
Some test pits will be dug in the Brackett’s Landing area checking for historic artifacts.
Sibrel said he doesn’t expect to find a lot of value since areas historically used by tribal members primarily are south of there.
These projects aren’t expected to be completed until the first quarter of 2019.
Actual design of the connector is expected to take at least two years, said Rob English, city engineer.
More information on the project is available at: www.edmondswa.gov/community-services/alternatives-analysis.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.