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Bid awarded for new lane on 405
State officials are moving quickly forward with plans to place a new lane on Interstate 405 near Bothell, awarding a contract for the project in lae August.
According to information released by the state, WSDOT tabbed Kiewit Pacific Co., of Renton to design and build a new northbound freeway lane in Bothell. Crews will build the lane between Northeast 195th Street and State Route 527. Numerous local and state officials point to that spot as the location of major, daily afternoon traffic jams.
The new lane is being added partly due to the availability of federal economic stimulus money, offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). According to the state, the federal funding means the project will be completed three years ahead of schedule.
"This project was ready for construction," said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. "Stimulus funds allow us to move the delivery schedule up significantly so we can put about 400 people to work, and complete needed improvements early."
Kiewit Pacific Co. submitted what was described as the apparent best value proposal with a bid amount of $19.2 million to complete the design and construction of the project.
WSDOT spokesperson Susan Hoffman said in a press release the bid represents 36 percent less than the available funding of $30 million. Hoffman added that over the last year, WSDOT has seen a trend in construction bids coming in lower than the budgeted amount and has started applying the extra funds toward other ARRA eligible projects within the state.
"We're pleased to work with Kiewit Pacific on this design-build project," said Kim Henry, Eastside Corridor Project Director. "Kiewit Pacific provided an excellent proposal that included the shortest overall construction time which allows for the earliest project completion. This approach provides motorists congestion relief earlier than anticipated while still minimizing impacts to the public."
Besides addressing afternoon congestion, the I-405 Bothell widening project also will help drivers accessing the University of Washington, Bothell campus and the business parks at 195th Street. WSDOT conducted a benefit-cost analysis and found this project to exceed a 4:1 benefit-cost ratio.
The new auxiliary lane will improve traffic flow in a section of I-405 where more than 100 collisions have occurred in the past three years. Eighty-four percent of the collisions are congestion related, and of those collisions 60 percent occur in the outside lane as a result of stop-and-go and weaving traffic entering and exiting the freeway between the 195th Street and SR 527 interchanges.
Hoffman said other project benefits include:
• Increasing travel speeds by 25 mph to 30 mph during peak hours.
• Improving HOV lane operation for carpools, vanpools and transit users.
• Easing transit access to the Canyon Park Park and Ride.
• Enhancing storm water treatment on new and existing pavement.
WSDOT officials said they hope to finalize the deal with Kiewit in the next few weeks and motorists can expect construction to begin later this fall. The project should be complete and open to traffic by summer 2010.