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FHWA and WSDOT recognize local transportation projects

OLYMPIA, WASH. — The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced the 2009 Award of Excellence winners for local agency transportation projects. North Bend, Clark County, Wenatchee and King County were recognized as having the “best of the best” community projects throughout Washington.

This annual awards program recognizes federally funded local agency transportation projects that have achieved excellence in safety enhancements, construction, innovative design, environmental compatibility, and community involvement and satisfaction. The award categories are: Best City Project, Best County Project, Best Special Project and the Director’s Award.

Best City Award: City of North Bend — North Bend Way Roundabout
The North Bend City Council and community members worked closely with public works staff to successfully develop and build a roundabout that dramatically improves the safety of the traveling public. The new roundabout improves traffic flow between the east and west sides of North Bend, and improves pedestrian access between residential neighborhoods and local parks. Emphasis was placed on simplicity of the roundabout, ease for truck traffic to negotiate the intersection, use of landscaping to help direct driver attention to vehicles around them, and the use of in-pavement lighting for pedestrian safety. Funding for this $1.2 million project included state and federal grants and contribution from the City of North Bend.

Best County Project: Clark County — Hwy 99 Bridge over Salmon Creek
The original Klineline Bridge which crosses Salmon Creek on Highway 99 in Clark County was constructed in 1927. The bridge required extensive repairs after a series of flooding events that resulted in eventual closure of the bridge in 2007. The design for a replacement bridge had many challenges. A partnership between the county, state, and federal fisheries agencies, a consultant, and WSDOT worked together to overcome these environmental, design, and construction hurdles. The new bridge and roadway features improved stormwater collection and treatment, and the project included an innovative stream reconstruction that protects the bridge while improving fish habitat. As a result, steelhead trout have returned to the stream for the first time in 10 years. Construction was completed ahead of time and under budget. The $13 million project included federal bridge funds, county road funds and contribution from Clark County Public Utilities.

Best Special Project: City of Wenatchee — Brick Street Preservation
The City of Wenatchee and the Historic Preservation Office partnered to restore two of Wenatchee’s remaining brick streets, originally constructed in 1913. The renovation of Orondo Avenue and Palouse Street has contributed a strong element to the downtown’s National Register District. The project included removing asphalt patches, replacing brick and adding concrete crosswalks, which eliminated rough and uneven surfaces for pedestrians. Historic old brick from other streets that had been removed and stockpiled were recycled. By having bricks in storage, the city was able to provide key materials, saving the costs of purchasing new or historic materials. The project came in under budget and on time. Strong public support for the project meant there were virtually no complaints during construction, even though two city blocks were closed, affecting dozens of businesses. Not only do the historic brick streets contribute to the appearance of the surrounding historic buildings, they are a distinct visual reminder of Wenatchee’s heritage. Funding for the $202,103 project came from federal enhancement grants and surface transportation program funds.

Director’s Award: King County — Tolt River Bridge
The original Tolt Bridge near Carnation was built across the Snoqualmie River in 1922, and is the only major bridge crossing between Carnation and Fall City. Deterioration and structural deficiencies required that load restrictions be imposed and citizens were inconvenienced with frequent bridge closures for maintenance and repairs. The new Tolt River Bridge is longer and wider, with eight-foot shoulders for pedestrians and bicycles. Construction of the new bridge maintained the historic feel of the original bridge, while the new alignment provides a safer route across the river and wetland, and stays above the 100-year flood elevation. This project succeeded in maintaining historical integrity while utilizing modern construction methods that included sidewalks and bike lanes and effectively mitigated impacts to wetlands and endangered species. Federal and state funds were combined with King County Road funds to construct the $28.2 million bridge project.