Streetscape - Construction starts in earnest Monday, Griffin to be closed

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Years of planning have come to a head, financing options have been decided and work crews will soon arrive to begin, in earnest, the process of renovating downtown Enumclaw.

The long-planned Downtown Streetscape project was kicked off gently, when a Puget Sound Energy crew arrived during the early-morning hours of April 22 to remove downtown street lights. By about 9 a.m., all that remained was a series of orange cones along Cole Street where light poles had stood.

Things should take a more dramatic turn Monday, when work crews seriously begin the Streetscape project, which entails six phases, will take an estimated four months to complete and carries a construction budget of $1.6 million.

Beginning Monday, Griffin Avenue will closed to traffic and workers will begin the process of replacing a two-block stretch of sidewalk - from Wells to Railroad streets - along the busy roadway that cuts through the heart of down. Traffic will be detoured to the south, using Porter Street, Stevenson Avenue and Second Street.

Phase 1 is expected to take two weeks to complete. Current plans call for the following timetable to finish the summerlong project:

€ Phase 2, Cole Street between Stevenson and Initial avenues, three weeks.

€ 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.

Work on Griffin Avenue will involve installation of a new curb, gutter and sidewalk, which will tie in with the design chosen for Cole Street work, and total reconstruction of the Griffin/Cole intersection. Construction crews are expected to work a half-block at a time, to keep disruptions to merchants to a minimum. While construction is occuring, pedestrians will use temporary wooden boardwalks.

When construction shifts to Cole Street, the project becomes more ambitious. The four blocks between Stevenson and Marshall avenues will see the complete removal of both street and sidewalk. The traditional curb-and-sidewalk approach will be replaced with a "zero-curb" plan, where the street and sidewalks consist of a flat plane stretching across the street from one storefront to another. There will be physical and visual barriers to separate traffic lanes and parking strips from pedestrian areas.

Aside from a new road surface, curbs and sidewalks, downtown will be dressed up with amenities such as new lights, benches and trash receptacles. The goal is to make downtown Enumclaw more pedestrian friendly and encourage the public to wander the downtown corridor.

Weather permitting, it's anticipated the entire Streetscape project will be wrapped up by the middle of September.

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