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Commuters will see 410 delays

Signs were expected to pop up early this week, notifying drivers that a busy stretch of state Route 410 could be more difficult to navigate during the next year.

Behind-the-scenes work has been completed, funding is secure and work crews are finally ready to tackle the long-awaited project that will see considerable upgrades to SR410 between 214th and 234th avenues.

The busy stretch of asphalt ties together the commercial Bonney Lake area with rural areas to the east. It lies within the Bonney Lake city limits but nearby residents carry a Buckley address.

Project engineer MaryLou Nebergall recalls working on the project a decade ago. That was before financial difficulties prompted to pull funding and delay the work.

Now, she said, it’s full steam ahead on a project that will keep work crews on-site until the summer of 2011.

Speaking Friday from her Department of Transportation office in Tumwater, Nebergall said signs were expected to go up Monday alerting motorists to the coming work that will occupy at least a year and cost an estimated $29.3 million.

Nebergall said drivers won’t be inconvenienced during the first week or two.

, as early work schedules call for the development of three retention ponds that will take care of stormwater piped from the area of the highway.

Soon, however, crews will begin the process of widening 410. The current two lanes of traffic will be shifted to the southern part of the current pavement, using some of the paved shoulder, allowing crews to work on the north side of the road. Later, the process will be reversed. When everything is completed, Nebergall said, 410’s centerline will remain exactly where it has been.

In April, the DOT will be reducing the speed limit through the area.

Nebergall said construction details remain a bit sketchy.

“We’re just getting the project off the ground,” she said. “We don’t have a complete schedule, but in two weeks I’ll know a lot more.”

She said the bulk of the work will be done by the fall, but weather always plays a role and could result in the project extending until 2011. The DOT Web site is more certain, stating the project is scheduled for completion by summer 2011.

The road-widening project, complete with traffic light, is the result of continued development in Bonney Lake’s eastern reaches and adjacent portions of Pierce County. That has resulted in the 410/234th intersection being dubbed a “high accident location,” according to the DOT’s Web site. In particular, heavy highway traffic makes it difficult for drivers on 234th to pull on to 410, sometimes resulting in risky maneuvers.

The project is being funded through gasoline taxes – almost $9 million earmarked from 2003 and $17 million from 2005 – along with nearly $2.6 million in existing state funds and assorted assessments to privately-owned projects.

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