A replacement bridge is being installed on Locust Way in south Snohomish County that is taking an unreasonably long time to complete, causing the community to be adversely affected longer than necessary. This 70-foot-long two-way lane cover over a culvert is not complex, yet the contractor has been given four months to complete the project. From mid-June to mid-October. Two months would have been sufficient and should have cost less because of reduced labor.
Locust Way is a main north/south road from south Snohomish County. Going south, the road continues through King County where it is identified as 61st Place NE. The road ends at Highway 422, the Lake City to Bothell highway with connection to I-405. Locust Way carries substantial commuter traffic going south in the morning and north later. Much of the traffic originates north of the bridge and must be detoured during construction.
The detour is lengthy. Southbound traffic is directed to Carter Road for over a mile. This is a 25 mph road through a heavy residential area. At the end is a four-way stop. The detour then turns right on Lockwood Road, which travels along the parking lot and entrance to Lockwood Elementary. The speed limit is 20 mph and there are school crossings on a speed bump. At the end of the road is a stop and sharp left turn back to Locust Road.
Before school begins some new school bus routes and stops will have to be organized. Lockwood Road is very busy because of the buses and cars delivering and picking up students. There are few, if any, sidewalks for the students who walk to school. Crossing guards are present.
The county should give more thought to the timing and length of contracts. Especially those that cause considerable community disruption and have potential safety risks. A contract lasting two months, in this case, starting after school let out would have eliminated many problems.