6th Avenue pipe upgrades will begin in July

POULSBO — City officials are glad the residents of the 6th Avenue neighborhood are onboard with the underground pipe improvement project, because the 80-year-old pipes are failing and need replacing.

The City Council approved the design and construction timeline of the 6th Avenue improvement project Wednesday evening. Bids will be advertised in mid-June, with the contract awarded by the end of June; the city has budgeted $1.4 million. Work will begin in July. The city has contracted PR company RockFish Group to help with communication and outreach to city residents.

The current water pipes are leaky and the system provides an inadequate fire flow for emergency services.

The water pipes will be increased from 6 inches to 8 inches to accommodate service capacity because of residential growth. The stormwater pipe diameter will also be increased.

The city hosted a public open house before the council meeting Wednesday, where residents got their questions answered about the timeline and scope of the project. The consensus was positive, and homeowners were in favor of the city's suggested closure schedule.

The project is expected to last 73 days. Sixth Avenue will be partially closed in phases. The street is about 2,000 linear feet long, assistant public works director Andrzej Kasiniak said, and crews will work on sections of 400 to 500 feet at a time, known as the work zone. Traffic control will close the work zone to the public during work hours, open only to local traffic. Traffic control will also alternative travel, and only close one lane at a time.

Keeping the work zone clear of traffic is expected to save the city $45,000 in traffic control costs and shave off eight days of construction.

Construction will take place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends and holidays. Crews will not work on July 3-5 and Sept. 2.

Kasiniak expects crews to move section by section every seven days, he said. The contractor will re-pave the street all at once in September.

The city received a $250,000 grant from the Department of Ecology in 2011 to improve the stormwater discharge quality going into Liberty Bay. The replacement of the pipes under 6th Avenue was originally scheduled for 2014, but after reviewing the six-year Capital Improvement Plan last year, the council decided to work on all 6th Avenue projects at once. The city expects to save 30 percent on the costs of the projects by combining them.

The city will use the Ecology grant, $530,000 from the water fund, $695,000 from the stormwater fund, $120,000 from the sewer fund and $100,000 from the road fund.

The City Council will also consider a bid alternative, which would include the addition of a raised speed table at Matson and 6th. Residents have been concerned about speeding along 6th Avenue, and asked the council to consider traffic-calming measures.

Kasiniak said it will depend on the cost of the speed table if the council agrees to include it in this project.

The project will provide better control stormwater. Rain gardens will be planted at the Harrison, Ryen, Sommerseth and Matson intersections.

After 6th Avenue is paved, the city will also plant a rain garden and reconfigure the pedestrian walkway at the five-way intersection at Hostmark, Lincoln, 4th, Fjord and Front streets, in front of the First Lutheran Church.

Mayor Becky Erickson hopes 6th Avenue residents will help maintain the rain garden landscaping.

“This is your city,” she said.

Many residents at the open house were relieved the stormwater management will help curb the runoff that swamps their road during storms. Raingardens absorb water and filter out pollutants before the runoff reaches Liberty Bay.


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