The Roberts Drive/SR 169 intersection in Black Diamond has a higher rate of accidents than a lot of other intersections along the highway. The city hopes a new roundabout will solve that issue. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

The Roberts Drive/SR 169 intersection in Black Diamond has a higher rate of accidents than a lot of other intersections along the highway. The city hopes a new roundabout will solve that issue. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Black Diamond plans 2020 street, water dept. projects

Another roundabout, this time at Roberts Drive and SR 169, is expected to be engineered this year, and constructed in 2021.

Editor’s note: The original article incorrectly identified SR 169 as SR 410. This article has been updated.

The city of Black Diamond is pursuing a number of capital improvement projects around the city in 2020.

According to the city’s 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan, an estimated $9.8 million will be spent this year on everything from streets and parks to stormwater and sewer.

Not all project timelines and expenses are set in stone, and deadlines may vary from what the city hopes to accomplish this year.

The biggest project on the docket is creating a roundabout at the intersection of Roberts Drive and state Route 410 in the heart of the city, which is sure to cause traffic problems for residents and commuters this year and next.

The roundabout project alone accounts for just over $4 million this year, mostly for designing and engineering, and next year, another $7.5 million will be spent on construction; the bill is almost completely covered by the Ten Trails housing development as a part of the Lawson Hills Master Planned Development plan with the city.

When finished, Robert’s Drive will no longer awkwardly split into two roads when it reaches SR 169, which the city notes has caused “a higher accident rate” than other intersections along the highway, the CIP plan reads.

Additionally, a new road will eventually be built off the roundabout to connect the highway to the Lawson Hills housing development.

A much smaller project includes developing more public parking in the city’s downtown area by the Black Diamond Bakery and the Eagles Hall.

Preliminary engineering and design was completed last year, so all that’s left for the city to do is purchase a right-of-way and start construction, an estimated total of $120,000, funds made available through grants and grant matching.

However, the city is not sure where the new parking space will be built, according to Public Works Department Capital Projects Manager Scott Hannis, and he expects a study to be completed first before construction begins, likely in 2021.

“It’s pretty tight down there,” he continued.

Other street improvements the city aims to at least begin this year include constructing a sidewalk between James Street and Roberts Drive along the west side of SR 169, with construction currently slated to begin next year, and creating another pedestrian walkway from the Morgan Creek neighborhood to SR 169, with construction again planned for 2021.

One final project is getting an upgrade. Underneath 224th Ave. SE are culverts that feed water from Lake Sawyer into the Covington Creek, but these culverts are nearing the end of their usefulness. Originally, the city planned to put up guardrails near the culverts in order to prevent additional erosion, which is causing problems for fish passing through, a $25,000 project, as well as re-line and improve the culverts, a $500,00 project.

However, Hanis said it’s looking like the city will have the funds to replace that section of road with a bridge, which means the water flow would be unimpeded. Replacing that section of road could cost $2 million.

WATER DEPARTMENT PROJECTS

Black Diamond’s water department is looking at nearly $3 million in capital improvement projects this year.

Two-thirds of that is expected to be sunk into reconstructing an existing open spring on the south side of the Green River.

Construction on the project, which includes a new pumping system and replacing the pipes that bring the water into Black Diamond, was started in 2019 and is expected to be finished this year.

Another less expensive project is replacing the asbestos and cast iron water mains from Roberts Drive to Morgan Drive, as well as pipes on Union Drive, until Buena Vista Drive; the project, which started in 2019, expects to continue in 2020 with more engineering and design for a little more than $100,000. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021 with costs exceeding $450,000.

Other projects to at least start in 2020 include refurbishing a water tank and updating the city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system.

PARKS AND REC DEPARTMENT PROJECT

A little more than $60,000 is expected to be spent in 2020 improving local parks and trails.

Around $40,000 of that is expected to be spent both this year and next updating the city’s Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, since its current plan is a dozen years old.

“We’re hopeful that’ll get started this year,” Hannis said. “We’ve been waiting for funding to do that.”

The city also plans to replace the HVAC system at the recreation center for around $20,000, which Hannis said is moving forward.


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