Good news for the drivers fed up with the detours they’ve had to take to skirt this summer’s closure of M Street Southeast, the hassles they’ve endured, the headaches they’ve iced.
The thoroughfare with all its improvements is on track to open by its Sept. 1 deadline, City Engineer Ingrid Gaub said Monday.
“It has been a difficult project,” Gaub said Monday.
On June 26, crews began replacing utilities and worn pavement from 3rd Street Southeast to East Main Street, replacing and upgrading deep storm drain pipe, water main and service lines, and full-depth roadway re-construction, requiring the full closure of the street.
The M Street Southeast project is only one among 35 active projects worth $58 million the Capital Projects group of the City’s Department of Community Development and Public Works is managing. Of these, 11 are in the design phase and 24 are under construction. Work should begin on four more by the end of the year.
Among other significant projects under – or about to be under – construction are:
• A roundabout on 22nd and I street Northeast. The City awarded the contract last week and construction should start up within weeks. To maintain pedestrian traffic control, pedestrians in the future need cross only one lane at a time to reach a traffic island, where they may wait for traffic to clear in the opposite direction.
The impetus for this project is the intersection’s high accident rate. Since 2011, there have been 22 accidents at that intersection, six of them involving bicycles or pedestrians, Gaub said.
“It’s a fairly high accident location, and fairly high for the non-motorized accident issues that happen there, much of it due to the multiple lanes in all four directions. … So by going to the roundabout, you are reducing that down to one lane in either direction while still maintaining traffic through that intersection in a timely manner,” Gaub said.
• South 277th Street improvements, adding 3,300 feet of intersection improvements and widening the roadway between Auburn Way North and L Street Northeast.
“It’s moving alone nicely, so we’ll get to an open road by October,” Gaub said.
As the last two-lane segment of the corridor between State Routes 99 and 18, South 277th Street in Auburn creates a choke point that causes congestion, slows things down and creates safety issues. To open things up and make it easier to get to the cities of Auburn, Kent, Federal Way and Covington, the City of Auburn launched the 18-month-long construction project in July of 2016.
• The Auburn Way South Corridor Safety Improvements project. Work began in the fall of 2016 to widen Auburn Way South from the Muckleshoot Plaza to Dogwood Street Southeast, opening up room for bus pull-out areas, a second eastbound left turn into the Muckleshoot Casino’s main entrance at Riverwalk Drive, and for raised, landscaped medians. There’ll also be new, 10-foot-wide sidewalks, better street lighting and upgraded traffic signals.
Between January 2010 and May 2015, City records show, there were 182 reported accidents in the area.
“We’re presently doing some night work on that this week,” Gaub said of the project, which should be completed by January of 2018.
• Construction has begun on the reconstruction of B Street Northwest, beginning with sewer work, activity that should continue until the onset of the rainy season. This project completes the reconstruction of the thoroughfare between 37th Street Northwest and 49th Street Northwest.