Poulsbo awarded grants to fix Fjord Drive

POULSBO — The City of Poulsbo has been awarded $751,337 to stabilize Fjord Drive and add landscaping on 6th Avenue to filter stormwater before it gets to Liberty Bay.

"I'm so proud of the staff for going out for these grants and making it possible to do things that are really important," Councilwoman Connie Lord said Wednesday. "Getting 6th Avenue retrofitted with stormwater (filtration) means the water quality in Liberty Bay will improve and it will be safer for pedestrians."

The City Council voted 7-0 Wednesday to receive the grants: $475,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to repair landslide damage on Fjord Drive; and $276,337 from the state Department of Ecology for the Old Town Poulsbo Low Impact Development Retrofit project, aimed to improve water quality in Liberty Bay.

The total cost for the 6th Avenue project is $379,900; Fjord Drive will cost $635,000. The city will contribute $103,563 for the 6th Avenue project and $160,000 from its utility fund for the rest of the Fjord Drive repair cost.

Fjord Drive between Front Street and 6th Avenue closed to northbound traffic November 2009 because of a landslide. One-way access remained available for people living along the road, but right turns from Front Street onto Fjord Drive have not been permitted for a few years.

Fjord Drive residents say they can't wait for the road to improve.

"I'm so excited to hear that the city approved the grant to get this started," Penny Lawrence-Grant said. "I have been one of those people that emails the city every four months or so asking what is happening with this."

The 6th Avenue project will include tree box filters and rain gardens. Council members also want to provide stormwater monitoring and public education.

"Liberty Bay is one of our more polluted bays, so we really are striving to make it healthier," Lord said. "Water quality is the name of our game."

Council members discussed the possibility of mini-garden medians on 6th Avenue to further filter stormwater.

"These construction ideas are not final, they are just an example of what could occur," Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said. "We are waiting to hear from our community about their design ideas to create a concrete design. We have some people here that really care about this area and we want to ensure their voices are heard."

The stormwater system on Fjord Drive will also be retrofitted and the pavement restored from approximately Sommerseth Street to the intersection of Fjord and 6th. The city begins accepting construction bids June 24. Erickson said the city lacked the funds to pay for long-term stabilization of Fjord Drive until now. Two slide areas must be repaired.

Residents have expressed concern over how the city might reconstruct Fjord. Council members contemplated several options, including turning the street into a permanent one-way road and installing a bike and walk path, or making a portion of Fjord one-way.

"My neighbors and I (are concerned) it will remain a one-way," Lawrence-Grant said. "We want it to be a two-way to help traffic flow."

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