A dramatic change to the busy intersection at Enumclaw High School moved a significant step closer to reality last week.
Members of the City Council approved a contract that will see a roundabout installed at the intersection of Semanski Street and Warner Avenue. Aside from the traffic generated by students and staff, the intersection is home to apartment buildings on the other three corners.
The result, for years, has been traffic congestion that reaches its peak during morning and afternoon hours. Presently, Semanski Street traffic moves unimpeded through the intersection, while drivers on Warner Avenue face stops signs.
Early in the planning stages, it was figured that work would be done during the summer months when school was not in session. The ongoing pandemic has altered high school sessions and prompted an earlier timeline. The action taken last week calls for construction to begin March 1 and be completed by early May.
Talk of improvements to the Semanski/Warner intersection picked up steam in 2018 in conjunction with the expansion and renovation of Enumclaw High. In a memo to the council, Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln noted that, at that time, “traffic studies analyzed the intersection and determined that a roundabout would be the appropriate improvement.”
An engineering consultant was brought on board by the city in 2019 to produce design plans, a process that was completed in August 2020. The city sought bids in December and received 15 responses. The contract was awarded to R.W. Scott Construction.
Lincoln’s memo highlighted the fact that bids were “very competitive,” with many coming in under the engineer’s estimate of $453,338. The city had allocated more than $584,000 in the 2021 budget, much more than Scott Construction’s winning bid of $338,597.
Addressing another road project during their Jan. 11 session, council members formalized an agreement that will deliver $238,000 for Roosevelt Avenue improvements.
Last August, the city had applied for grant money through the state’s Transportation Improvement Board. Touting plans to overlay Roosevelt Avenue between Semanski Street and 244th Avenue, the city was successful in its effort.
The only catch is that the city must contribute a matching sum of at least 15 percent. So, to get the $238,000 the city will be putting up an additional $42,000.
While seeking grant money for the Roosevelt Avenue project, the city had also sought funding for similar work on Warner Avenue. That request was denied.
Work on Roosevelt Avenue is expected to begin this summer.
In other action during on Jan. 11, members of the Enumclaw City Council:
• Announced there would be a second public hearing dealing with an annexation request made by Mount Rainier Christian Center. The church, located at the intersection of 244th Avenue and state Route 164, abuts the city limits and is on the city water system, but is in King County jurisdiction.
A first public hearing on the matter took place in December. The second and final hearing is slated for the council’s regularly-scheduled meeting of Jan. 25. A decision will likely be rendered at that session, which begins at 7 p.m.
• Considered a request for a 23-home development on Roosevelt Avenue. The Rosenbauer Lane project calls for single-family houses to be built on two parcels of land sitting on the north side of Roosevelt. The 6.49 acres sit between Semanski Street and 244th Avenue, surrounded by neighborhood homes.
Plans call for the demolition of existing structures on the land, the addition of a new road to serve the homes and a stormwater retention pond at the far north end of the tract.
The project has made its way through city channels and is expected to land on an upcoming agenda for final approval.
• Were reminded about ongoing efforts to generate visitors to the heart of downtown, thus boosting the local economy. Fire pits will continue to be placed on Cole Street (which is closed to traffic) every weekend of January, from 2 p.m. Friday until 9 p.m. Sunday. Additionally, a “Friday Night Market” will continue Jan. 22 and 29 in the Cole Street building that, until recently, housed Kelly’s Mercantile. The market, with assorted vendors, will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on the two remaining Fridays.
• Appointed Carlie Hendrickson to a seat on the city’s Planning Commission. The Position 3 term expires with the close of 2022.