Pavement projects press forward in Auburn

Here’s a sampling of what Auburn has squeezed out of a $32 million investment of taxpayer dollars.

Among the 23 active replacement or pavement preservation construction projects city of Auburn crews have busied themselves with in 2020 or carried over from the previous year, many are above ground.

Like the 23 lane-miles of new or preserved pavement, the three new roadway dynamic message signs and the five pedestrian-activated, rectangular rapid flashing beacon crossings in process.

Underground, the city has already replaced seven large water meters and their vaults, and is replacing more than 12,500 linear feet of water mains, more than 8,600 linear feet of storm drain pipe and more than 450 linear feet of sanitary sewer pipe.

That is a sampling of what Auburn has squeezed out of a $32 million investment of taxpayer dollars, as Ryan Vondrak, Capital and Construction Engineering Manager, told the Auburn City Council in his annual end-of-year report during a study session Dec. 14.

The $32 million is also upgrading electrical components within 12 sanitary sewer pump stations; installing nearly four miles of new traffic signal communication infrastructure; converting 2,850 citywide, cobra-head-style, city-owned street lights to LEDs; adding 6,500 linear feet of new or replaced sidewalks; and updating numerous curb ramps to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This past spring, that $32 million helped augment the Auburn Municipal Airport runway by 441 feet.

In all, Vondrak said, the city’s capital project’s team is at work on 36 active projects 16 in construction phase, 20 in design, worth a total of $60 million.

Among the projects the city expects to begin construction work on in early 2021 or 2022 are the following:

■ Preservation of Second Street Southeast from A Street Southeast to Auburn Way South. In 2019, the city received a grant from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) for almost $600,000 to help complete this project, which calls for street lighting components, 150 feet of sanitary sewer improvements, storm drainage improvements and updated curb ramps and crosswalks to meet ADA requirements.

■ The Lakeland Hills Preservation Project from 57th Drive Southeast to Lake Tapps Drive Southeast, just behind the Haggen’s Shopping Center. This project calls for a patch-and-grind overlay, upgraded curb ramps to meet the ADA and replacement of the vehicle-impacted detection loops under the intersection of Lake Tapps and Lakeland Hills parkways.

■ Lea Hill Road Bridge Deck preservation project, which will complete grinding and overlaying of pavement along the bridge deck on 8th Street Northeast. The federal government has awarded the city a $600,000 grant to complete this project.

■ 4th Street Southeast from Auburn Way South to L Street Southeast. Partial grind and overlay, partial roadway reconstruction, including 1,700 linear feet of water improvements, 880 linear feet of sewer improvements, replacement of sections of sidewalk to meet the ADA and include street lighting components. City anticipates construction in 2022.

■ The M Street Southeast sidewalk improvement project. In 2019, the TIB awarded the city a $450,000 grant to help add missing sections of sidewalk and curb ramps along M Street South from 8th Street South to Auburn Way South.

“After this is done, how much of M Street will remain unsidewalked?” Council member Chris Stearns inquired.

“We’ll have a sidewalk on the west side from 8th all the way to Auburn Way South,” said Public Works Director Ingrid Gaub. “We’ll have a sidewalk on the east side from 12th to Auburn Way South. We’ll still be missing a piece between 8th and 12th on the east side.”

To date in 2020, the city has bid a total 0f 17 street projects for a total value of about $21.3 million.