Gains made on West Sammamish Bridge remodel following year-long delay

Bids on the project will be coming in November.

At its Oct. 14 meeting, the Kenmore City Council approved an increase in its contract authority with Jacobs Engineering, the firm behind the design work on the delayed West Sammamish River Bridge renovations.

The decision increases the authority to about $2.87 million. Previously council, at a Jan. 16, 2018 meeting, authorized an amendment to the Jacobs contract for additional design services. Design work began in collaboration with the firm in May 2015.

The amendment necessitated that the amount for design-work services not exceed about $2.77 million. But following a federal government shutdown in January 2019, the project’s construction was delayed a year. Lasting 35 days — from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25 — the shutdown caused, in addition to other setbacks, issues especially with proper permit obtainment.

“We had been working steadfast on this project for almost four years now, never taking a moment’s break,” John Vicente, a Kenmore city engineer, told the Reporter earlier this year. “We were so excited to be able to go to ad and to have to cancel it was extremely disappointing.”

The now-approved additional $100,000 is required, according to the council meeting’s agenda item, to meet advertising goals for this fall. Currently, design on the project is complete, with advertising for construction beginning last week. On Nov. 25, according to city clerk Kelly Chelin, bids on the project will likely begin coming to the fore.

The total cost of the renovations project is $37.86 million. About $35 million of it is covered by either utility contributions or grant funds, including contributions from the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Bridge Programs ($12 million), the Transportation Improvement Board ($6.9 million), the Connecting Washington State fund ($8 million) and federal Surface Transportation Program funds ($1.6 million).

The West Sammamish Bridge, which caters to northbound and southbound traffic over the Sammamish River on 68th Avenue Northeast, was built in the 1930s. In March 2014, after decades of use, weight restrictions were put into effect. They will not be lifted until the bridge has been replaced. Despite these restrictions and the delay in reconstruction, the bridge as it stands is still considered safe to travel across by officials.

In addition to the inclusion of new sidewalks along 68th Avenue Northeast’s east side, the currently existing west bridge will be replaced. Approaches between Northeast 170th Street and Northeast 175th Street will also be redone.

The total contract amount with Jacobs makes up about 11 percent of the overall construction estimate, and is within the projected percentage range.

Due to the government shutdown earlier this year, the city has postponed construction to the winter of 2020 in an effort to avoid potential building issues. According to the city’s website, Kenmore will be hosting a final open house before construction to introduce residents to the construction team as well as provide updates on any relevant impacts on the community at large.

For more information about the contract authority increase, go to the most recent meeting’s agenda item at