EVERETT — City staff said they can now use eminent domain to get pieces of property to replace the Edgewater Bridge along Mukilteo Boulevard in Everett, though negotiations to pay for those parcels are going well.
After initially eyeing the project last year, the city plans to begin construction this summer. Pandemic delays and environmental review took longer than expected and delayed the $22 million project, Everett Public Works director Ryan Sass said.
To ensure the project stays on schedule, the city needs to secure two temporary construction easements and purchase properties near the bridge at the city’s western limits in the Boulevard Bluffs neighborhood.
“This is really a precautionary measure to ensure we don’t endure an additional delay by a long, drawn-out negotiation and miss another construction season, especially at a time when inflation makes delays very costly,” Sass told the Everett City Council during its meeting Wednesday.
The Everett City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance for eminent domain as a backup option. It means the city could claim the property for fair market value by condemning it through Superior Court. City leaders instead hope to negotiate with each property owner.
The temporary easements are on properties that are around 1,600 and 3,000 square feet. About 16,500 square feet needs to be acquired permanently. Each is undeveloped. The city wouldn’t demolish any buildings or change their use, assistant real property manager Darcie Byrd said.
“Property areas are in unusable ravines,” Byrd said.
Once work starts, a critical connection between Everett and Mukilteo will be severed for at least nine months, city engineer Tom Hood said. Losing the bridge affects travel through the area, which has no other connections across Edgewater Creek or the surrounding ravine.
Everett Transit intends to shift Route 18, which has run between Everett Station and the Mukilteo waterfront via Mukilteo Boulevard, in April.
Mukilteo School District buses that serve students in the Boulevard Bluffs neighborhood will have a new route as well.
The new bridge will be larger with more room for sidewalks, lighting and railings.
Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; email@example.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.
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