Road repairs hit pothole

  • By Chris Fyall Enterprise editor
  • Friday, January 25, 2008 3:40pm

Road repairs that have clogged traffic and forced detours in Perrinville and on Puget Drive should be completed by the middle of February.

All of the city’s three major projects should be finished by Feb. 15 weather permitting, said Pam Lemke, with the city’s engineering division.

76th Avenue West should reopen Feb. 1, Puget Drive should reopen by Feb. 8 and Olympic View Drive should reopen by the second week in February, she said.

While the end is in sight, the worst isn’t necessarily over on Puget Drive, Lemke said. “It is going to get a lot uglier there before it gets any prettier,” she said.

Finally getting prettier will bring a welcome end to the aftermath of December’s record-setting rainstorm. More than 5 inches of rain fell on Edmonds in a 48-hour period, officials said.

Immediately after the storm, officials thought repairs could take a month. In mid-December, public works director Noel Miller said the roads would be opened by the end of January.

Still, completion will likely bring unwelcome news too: Final costs are expected to be higher than the $1 million originally budgeted, officials warned.

In the weeks after the storm, the city didn’t realize that 196th Street Southwest — also called Puget Drive — needed repairs.

Olympic View Drive and 76th Avenue West both had partial washouts, so the council authorized $1 million in emergency repair funding.

When the city realized that floodwaters from North Stream Creek had blocked Puget Drive’s storm line, and repairs were needed, there wasn’t much to be done.

“Once it plugged up, we had to go in and do it,” Mayor Gary Haakenson said Jan. 22.

Calculating final costs is difficult before projects are finished, but Haakenson estimated the total repair bill could run 10 percent over budget.

“We have to do the work,” he said. “The fact that it has gone over budget isn’t surprising since the budget we gave to the council was only for two projects instead of three.”

The scope of the three projects was intense.

Retaining walls at 76th Avenue West, between 180th Street Southwest and Olympic View Drive, and Olympic View Drive, between 180th Street Southwest and 76th Avenue West, have finally been completed, after wet soils made that process difficult.

The walls are now built, however, so the toughest parts of those repairs are over, Lemke said.

Repairs on Puget Drive near 12th Avenue North are going to get messy. Phase two, which the city was entering Tuesday, requires installing two 84-inch manholes, Lemke said.

Citizens should expect delays on that street until the project is completed.

City officials cautioned that while it was likely the emergency repairs would go over budget, that wasn’t a guarantee yet.

“We are tracking the costs closely, but they aren’t all in yet,” city engineer Dave Gebert said. “It is expensive work, but it is nothing to be alarmed about. I don’t think it is going to be a significant issue.”

The issue of cost overruns was complicated by the fact that the city was already planning work for two of the projects — Olympic View Drive and Puget Drive. That clouds the “emergency” aspect of their funding, Gebert said.

“It is a little difficult to say where we are at, but we will be reporting to the City Council what the costs will be,” he said.

Reporter Chris Fyall: 425-673-6525 or

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