City gets $1.2 million in federal funds for design work on SR 164 improvements

That place along State Route 164 where the five-lane section narrows to one lane in each direction vexes a lot of drivers.

Well, here’s a bit of good news.

The city of Auburn has just received more than $1 million from the federal government to complete the design phase for the extension of the five-lane section of State Route 164 from its present end at Hemlock Street to Poplar Street.

James Webb, senior traffic engineer for Auburn, said Monday that the city will apply the $1,297,500 to the total design phase cost of $1.5 million, and the city will pony up the balance.

Webb said the 2,500-foot-long project will extend the recently-completed improvements that end at Hemlock Street and create a cross section with two general-purpose lanes in each direction, a two-way, center left-turn lane and a new traffic signal at the Noble Court intersection to support access to Chinook Elementary School.

What’s more, the project calls for the full complement of curbs and gutters, 10-foot-wide sidewalks, illumination, transit stop improvements, storm water improvements, and access management – where feasible – with accommodations for U-turns.

As of today, the city doesn’t have any money in the kitty for right-of-way acquisition and construction, Webb said, so it will have to pursue grant funding for one or both of those phases.

The city’s Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) describes construction getting underway between 2022 and and 2023, but that is certainly over optimistic.

“The next grant opportunity is next year, with funds for 2023 and 2024,,” Webb said. “While the construction timeline depends on whether we can get grant funding for that, the best-case scenario would be by the end of 2024.”