New northbound lane driving onto I-405 in Bothell
March 23, 2009 · 2:08 PM
Thanks to $40 million in federal economic stimulus money, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plans to add a northbound lane to Interstate 405 through Bothell.
Again thanks to the federal program, the project will move ahead with unusual speed. A WSDOT deputy director for project development, Denice Cieri said a call for a combined design and construction bid will be announced in May. The state expects to award the work in August.
Running between Northeast 195th Street and State Route 527, the new lane should be open for traffic by December 2010.
“The area has quite a lot of congestion,” Cieri said and the project on the table is aimed directly at easing that problem.
According to WSDOT, the stretch of road sees the most traffic during afternoon drive times as commuters head north from Bellevue and Kirkland while others come and go from the University of Washington, Bothell, as well as the Bothell business park on Northeast 195th.
Even at those peak traffic times, Cieri said the additional lane could increase travel speeds by up to 25 mph. A WSDOT benefit and cost analysis showed the project exceeded a 4:1 benefit to cost ratio, a figure Cieri described as “very, very good.”
“The bang for the buck is really there,” she said.
According to information provided by WSDOT, the project could create up to 400 construction jobs.
Regarding traffic flow during the construction work, Cieri said drivers should experience minimal inconvenience. Work largely will take place to one side of the road with little need to block existing lanes.
“We would not expect very much impact to the traveling public,” Cieri said.
Cieri added one reason the state was able to take advantage of the federal stimulus program — formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — was that the project essentially was ready to begin. The ability to get construction moving quickly was a requirement in order to earn the federal dollars. Nevertheless, Cieri added the state plans to use a somewhat unique process in order to pick a general contractor for the work.
Normally, the state would bid the construction project after design work was bid out and completed separately. In this case, largely to speed things along, WSDOT plans to request proposals for both the design and construction, naming one general contractor who will be responsible for both. The design currently is about 15 percent complete.
According to Cieri, WSDOT has completed one project in Kirkland using the somewhat alternative bidding system. Bid in the same manner, additional projects are under way in Bellevue and in Renton.