In and out of season, former Auburn Deputy Mayor Bill Peloza seldom failed to mention the woeful condition of 4th Street Southeast and to urge, urge, urge the city to do something about it.
City engineers have known about that need for years. But as they reluctantly and patiently reminded Peloza time and again, the city did not have the money to do what had to be done without grant funding.
Peloza, who died on April 29, 2020, didn’t live to see it launch. But when city leaders accepted a $1.7 million state grant Jan. 4 to complete the road’s rehabilitation from Auburn Way South to L Street Southeast, it was of him they were thinking.
“I have no doubt that former Deputy Mayor Bill Peloza would be happy with the receiving of this grant funding,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus.
The $4.86 million price breaks down as follows: $2.2 million funded by the city’s water and sewer utilities for normal repair, replacement and maintenance; $1.75 million in grant funds from the state Transportation Improvement Board, a sum that is comprised of state gas tax revenues; and money from from the city’s street preservation funds.
What residents will get for their money is the repair and replacement of the water and sewer utility line and a rebuilt roadway pavement between D Street Southeast and L Street Southeast with new pavement to its full depth. From Auburn Way South to D Street Southeast, the project will grind down the top surface of the existing pavement and will replace it with an overlay.
The project should begin its design and permitting phases in 2021 with construction anticipated to start in early to mid-2022. It should be finished by late 2022 or early 2023, depending on weather conditions during the construction phase.
The city has had a continued goal of maintaining its streets at an average pavement condition index of 70 out of 100 — 100 being a brand new street, and zero being a street that has failed. Although in recent years the city has made significant progress toward this goal, 4th Street Southeast had been among the projects that remained to be reconstructed.
“The city’s available funding without grant supplements will not allow us to sustain this goal for our streets’ condition over the long term,” Public Works Director Ingrid Gaub said recently. “Winning this highly competitive state grant helps the city to stretch the limited funding for street preservation further and allows us to do more.”