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Wayne Curve roadwork in Bothell is on schedule

Cars, hauling trucks and construction trucks share the roadway on Wayne Curve in Bothell.  - TOM CORRIGAN,  Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
Cars, hauling trucks and construction trucks share the roadway on Wayne Curve in Bothell.
— image credit: TOM CORRIGAN, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

In addition to the roughly 30-foot-high retaining wall now in place on the westbound side of the road, drivers making their way through Bothell’s Wayne Curve should notice some major differences in the roadway this week.

The overall project will add a mass-transit-only lane to both sides of State Route 522 at the 96th Avenue Northeast intersection, the idea being to help eliminate what city officials call the existing traffic bottleneck at that location.

According to Bothell Senior Civil Engineer Jason Torrie, westbound paving was to be completed the week of Feb. 7, weather permitting.

Torrie added that the paving work led, for the first time, to lane closures during peak traffic hours, namely the afternoon commute. There have been off-peak lane closures in the past.

Still, Torrie continued that with the new westbound lane in place, traffic will be shifted to that side of the street.

The move will allow workers access to the eastbound side of the road without requiring any lane closures or even, for now, night work. Striping of the westbound lanes should take place the last few weeks of February, again weather permitting. Torrie said when the new westbound lane is fully accessible, there will be two lanes of traffic open in both directions, at all times, along the affected stretch of SR 522.

Even with one lane closed at times as paving took place, Torrie maintained traffic back-ups have not been excessive, that the contractor has done a good job of keeping traffic flowing as much as possible.

Workers have installed a temporary traffic signal at the SR 522-96th Avenue intersection. In an e-mail update on the project, Torrie also talked about workers fixing potholes along the roadway. He said most of the temporary patches completed have been replaced with permanent material.

Overall, Torrie said the Wayne project is on time and on budget.

“There have been no major issues... We still expect to finish construction in the October, November timeframe,” he added.

Torrie said building the large retaining wall on the north side of SR 522 was a major undertaking, one he seemed relieved to say was completed without any unforeseen problems. Cutting into a hillside, he continued, is always risky; you never know with absolute certainty what you might find once you start digging.

“Everything went as planned,” Torrie concluded.

Further east on SR 522, the city is in the second stage of the Crossroads project. As advertised, the goal here is to realign the intersection of the city’s two state routes, 522 and 527. According to the Bothell Web site, this work also is going as planned.

The large mound of gravel on the south side of 522 is designed to help the ground beneath it settle, a process the city refers to as “preloading.”

Basically, the soil beneath the gravel mound was determined to be too soft and unstable, or “liquefiable,” to hold up the planned new roadway. The city says the gravel mound will stay in place until engineers determine the ground has settled enough to support traffic.

The next and final phase of the Crossroads work should get under way this spring. The work will consist of grading, actual construction of a new roadway, utility installation and landscaping. Officials expect this phase to last through fall 2012.

The city states most of the work in the final phase will be confined to areas inside the existing fencing on the south side of the road. That will change late in the work when tie-ins must be made to the existing road.

For continued updates, check out the Bothell city Web site at www.ci.bothell.wa.us and click on the construction cone on the right side of the home page.

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