Downtown detours now a way of life

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Surprises came quick when work crews began tearing up downtown Enumclaw streets, and - after four days of work - the much-anticipated Streetscape project had fallen about a week behind schedule.

Chris Searcy, the city's director of public works, said there were unexpected difficulties with underground phone lines and Department of Transportation lines that control the traffic signal at Cole Street and Griffin Avenue. Downtown was quiet Friday as details were hammered out.

Crews broke ground May 5 on Phase 1 of the $1.6 million Streetscape project. The initial phase takes in a two block stretch of Griffin Avenue, from Railroad to Wells streets, and includes total reconstruction of the Griffin/Cole intersection and new curbs and sidewalks. While work is being done, traffic is being detoured around the heart of downtown, using Stevenson Avenue and Second and Porter streets.

It was estimated Phase 1 would take two weeks to complete. Now, Searcy said, the goal is to have Griffin open for traffic by May 22.

Searcy hopes much of the concrete work in the Cole/Griffin intersection will be taken care of today (Wednesday), as the concrete should be allowed to cure for about seven days. On Thursday and Friday, he said, crews should finish demolition of the Griffin Avenue sidewalks.

Phase 2, a total renovation of Cole Street between Stevenson and Initial Avenues, including curbs and sidewalks, will begin after the extended Memorial Day weekend, Searcy said. Cole Street, when finished, will feature a "zero curb" look, where the street and sidewalks consist of a flat plane stretching from one storefront to another. There will be physical and visual barriers to separate traffic lanes and parking strips from pedestrian areas.

The remainder of the Streetscape project looks like this:

€ Phase 3, Cole Street between Marshall and Myrtle avenues, three weeks.

€ Phase 4, Cole Street between Initial and Griffin avenues, three weeks.

€ Phase 5, Cole Street between Griffin and Myrtle avenues, three weeks.

€ Phase 6, Griffin Avenue, between Wells and Porter streets, two weeks.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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