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New 520 bridge components are being built in Kenmore

  • Written by Don Mann
Kenmore Site
Photo courtesy Aequalis Photography/WSDOT The KGM construction and staging area on Kenmore’s LakePointe property site.
Representatives from contractor Kiewit/General/Manson (KGM) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) held an open house Tuesday at Kenmore City Hall to discuss the construction of bridge components being built in Kenmore for the new State Route 520 floating bridge and to field questions from the public.

Several dozen citizens attended. KGM is leasing a portion of the LakePointe property (at 6525 N.E.  175th St.) as a construction yard and barge landing to manufacture precast deck panels — what will ultimately be the driving surface of the new bridge —as well as gravity and fluke anchors to hold it in place at the bottom of Lake Washington.

The 44-acre site is owned by Gary Sergeant of Pioneer Towing; KGM is utilizing approximately 14 acres.

KGM Planning Manager Dave Stegeman said the company will produce 776 concrete panels measuring 57 feet x 15 feet each that will comprise the 5600 feet span.

Eight gravity anchors weighing over 300 tons each — 587 tons when fully loaded with rock, he said — and 46 fluke anchors will be delivered to the new bridge site by barge.

The gravity anchors will be constructed on the barge itself, docked adjacent to the on-site wharf.

KGM has already begun production of 77 pontoons at an industrial site in Aberdeen. Some of the pontoons will be as long as 360 feet, as wide as 75 feet and as tall as 35 feet. Upon completion they will be towed by barge from Grays Harbor to the Pacific Ocean to the Strait of Juan De Fuca to Puget Sound through the Ballard Locks to its final destination in Lake Washington, WSDOT Project Director John White said.

“It’s a massive undertaking and watching them being towed two at a time through the Locks will be something to see.”

Other bridge components are being constructed at the Port of Tacoma, he said.

The new bridge will be 20 feet high above the water, 10 feet higher than the existing bridge, Stegeman said, and is scheduled to be up and running by 2015.

KGM will then disassemble and remove the old bridge.

Kenmore Mayor David Baker said the project will create about 50 family-wage union jobs and generate additional sales-tax revenue for the city. “It also means a major cleanup for that site which will ultimately make the property more attractive to developers.”

KGM has leased the LakePointe property for three years.

Sergeant has been trying to sell the parcel “for a long time,” Baker said. LakePointe development has been permitted by the city but has been delayed because of a sluggish economy. The property, which Baker said sits at the “crown of the lake,” has long been considered a lynchpin to future Kenmore development, with mixed residential and retail use projected.

The site, which sits atop landfill, has been an industrial yard since the mid 1970s, used for similar manufacturing, storage and concrete work projects. Much of the property in recent years had been overrun with stockpiled materials — soil, dredged material along with industrial and natural debris. In order to be permitted, KGM relocated the stockpiled material, regraded and updated drainage and erosion controls, replaced the gravel surface across the entire site and repaired the existing wharf.

Shoreline vegetation has been protected and the entire site will now drain to new sediment traps and not run off into the lake and river, satisfying the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

New gas, water, power and communication lines have also been installed on the Kenmore site. The new six-lane floating bridge, a $4.65 billion project not yet fully funded, will replace the current bridge constructed in 1963 and showing its age: The bridge’s pontoons have become vulnerable to windstorms and its support columns are vulnerable to earthquakes.

Moreover, the existing bridge has only two lanes in each direction, no shoulders and no high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

The new bridge, to be constructed on the north side of the old one, will include two additional general purpose lanes and one transit/HOV lane in each direction, wider shoulders to allow vehicles to pull over in case of breakdown, and a 14-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path.

Bridge components will begin to be assembled and floated into place later this year.

Police departments offering Citizen’s Academy

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

The police departments of Kenmore, Shoreline, Woodinville and the King County Sheriff’s Office are sponsoring a Citizen’s Academy on Wednesdays starting March 21 and concluding May 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kenmore City Hall, 18120 68th Ave NE.

The academy is a great way to increase the understanding between citizens and their police department through education. The 10-week course covers a variety of topics, including defensive tactics, K9, major accident investigations, homicide and major crimes, Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Guardian One Helicopter and marine patrol.

Graduates of the Citizen’s Academy come away with a better understanding of the law enforcement role in the criminal justice system and an appreciation for the many challenges facing law enforcement in today’s complex society.

This is a unique experience and it’s offered at no cost to Kenmore residents and those who work in the City of Kenmore.

Registration and approval of submitted applications are required in advance. Applications are available online or at Kenmore City Hall, 18120 68th Ave NE.

For more information, contact Officer Mark Childers at (206) 205-7652 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lottery scratch-and-win dynamic could fund school construction

  • Written by Maida Suljevic - WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Legislature ‘gambles’ on building-fund resources


The phrase “scratch and win” could soon turn into “scratch, win and build” if legislation that would use lottery revenue to fund education construction wins Legislature approval.

House Bill 2792, sponsored by Representatives Hans Dunshee (D – 44th District, Everett) and Laurie Jinkins (D – 27th District, University Place), would allow the appropriation of funds from lottery revenue to fund construction projects for K-12 and higher education.

The House Committee on Capital Budget voted the measure out of committee Feb. 24 with a 6-4 vote; two members were excused. The bill must move through the House Rules Committee to gain consideration on the floor. It must also pass through Senate committee and floor debate to get to the governor’s desk for final approval.

Background

Washington’s Lottery was created by the Legislature in 1982 and its generated revenue went directly into the general fund until 2000, explained Arlen Harris, director of communications and governmental affairs for Washington’s Lottery.

Voters approved Initiative 728 in 2000 allowing revenue from the lottery to be distributed to the Education Construction Account to fund construction projects for K-12 and higher education.

That revenue flow continued until the Legislature created the Opportunity Pathways Account in 2010, displacing the construction money. Sen. Jim Kastama (D – 25th District, Puyallup) sponsored the change. Moneys from the account were instead dedicated to creating scholarships, work-study awards and grants.

In order to fill the hole left in the construction account, beginning in 2011, the Legislature directed the state treasurer to allocate $102 million from the General Fund into the education construction account. However, because of continued budget shortfalls, the Legislature suspended transferring the money. HB 2792 would restore a funding resource for school and college construction.

The details in House Bill 2792

HB 2792 would authorize the State Finance Committee, made up of the governor, lieutenant governor and state treasurer, to issue $156 million in lottery revenue-backed bonds.

Bonds are basically long-term debts. The government issues a bond for a certain price and becomes indebted to the lender. The government has to pay back the loan over a period of time plus the established interest.

In the case of House Bill 2792, the bonds would be issued for 25 years, and revenue from the lottery would be deposited into a new account, the Education Construction Revenue Bond Retirement Account, created specifically for debt service payments which would amount to about $11 million annually.

The $156 million would be used to fund specific projects approved by the Legislature. ... Many of the community colleges in Washington would benefit if the measure were to pass. “We’re supportive of it,” said Laura McDowell, communications director at the state board of community and technical colleges.

McDowell believes that if the legislation passes, it would help fund some of the projects many of the community colleges in the state need, including providing funds for equipment.

Another major stakeholder in the legislation is the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Much of the funding being appropriated in the measure is granted to OSPI to distribute to schools.

“It’s going to give schools an opportunity for improvement that they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Olson.

Nonetheless, there were voices of dissent during the committee session coming from the Republican members.

Rep. Judy Warnick (R – 13th District, Moses Lake) voted against the measure along with her fellow Republicans ...

According to Dunshee, general obligation bonds are paid for with general fund revenue. Such bonds are also limited by the state’s constitutional debt limit. Revenue-backed bonds would be outside of the constitutional debt limit, similar to the bonds in the transportation budget, he said.

The legislation does account for the hole that would be left in the Opportunity Pathways Account if it were to pass. Lottery revenue that isn’t used for lottery purposes, to pay off the debt service on the education construction bonds, or to pay the debt service on other obligations from the funding resource would be deposited in the Opportunity Pathways Account.

Also, the legislation directs the State Treasurer to deposit a one-time payment of $11 million from the Education Construction Fund into the Pathways Account for fiscal year 2014.

Dunshee believes that using lottery-backed revenue to fund education construction projects makes sense.

“I always think the lottery people said it should go to education,” said Dunshee. “It’s a source that you can bond against, that is a good solid source, so I thought it was a solid fit.”

The representative also believes that funding education construction projects, paying for needed equipment and funding skills centers would create jobs.

“When the Republicans say, ‘put it to the ballot,’ that just delays everything … this happens this spring, these jobs happen this spring,” said Dunshee.

According to Harris of the Washington Lottery, the Legislature determines where the funding from the lottery would go, so his administrators are impartial to the measure. The measure must pass slature by March 8, the end of the legislative session, to take effect.

LWIT receives 4-year baccalaureate level accreditation

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT) received accreditation at the baccalaureate level this month from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the region’s authority on higher education accreditation.

The new designation includes the college’s bachelor of technology in applied design (BTAD) degree and came in conjunction with the reaccreditation of LWIT’s associate degree level programs.

“The Commmission applauds the Institute for establishing a rigorous and viable bachelor of technology degree program in applied design which provides options for further education for students in currrent careers and future opportunities,” wrote NWCCU President Sandra Elmann in a letter to LWIT President Dr. David Woodall announcing the accreditation decision.

The BTAD program admits students who hold a design-related associate degree and prepares them to lead teams of creative and technicaal professionals.

Upper division course work includes design theory, management and techhnology.

BTAD students come from LWIT’s AS programs in multimedia design and production and engineering graphics, as well as design-related programs from other two-year colleges.

Courses are held in the evenings and online to meet the needs of working stuudents.

Accreditation at the baccalaureate level is a milestone for LWIT, which changed its name last July to reflect its growth and expansion into a polytechnic institute.

LWIT is in the planning stages to offer additional four-year degree programs in the near future.

“With education costs on the rise and demand for employees with college degrees increasing, our college system has to think outside the box to meet the needs of students and employers close to home,” said Dr. Woodall. “Four-year degree offerings from community annd technical colleges like ours help bridge that gap and open new pathways for our future workforce. This is a significant milestone for our college. We’re very excited to be on the cutting edge of this movement and look forward to growing our baccalaureate programs.”

LWIT applied for accreditation candidacy at the baccalaureate level and was granted candidacy status in October 2008.

The BTAD program began in September 2009, with the first students graduating in 2011.

LWIT is one of only seven Washington community and technical colleges offering baccalaureate degrees.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT) is a broad-based polytechnic college offfering instruction in 35 areas of instruction toward a spectrum of more than 1000 bachelor and associate level degrees and certificates designed to give students the latest cutting edge skills relevant to today’s workplace. Founded in 1949, LWIT offers hands-on, real-world training in manufacturing, transportation, energy, business, allied health, computer and information systems, food and hospitality, and health and fitness.

For information and news about LWIT programs, please visit lwtech.edu/press_room. Information on the BTAD program is available at www.lwtech.edu/btad.

Kenmore Junior High math team ranks second at competition

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Kenmore Math Team
(L-R:) Steven Tanner, T. J. Marchello, Nathan Nguyen, Patrick Bi, Edward Yang, Jason Zhu Photo courtesy of NSD

The Kenmore Junior High School math team ranked second in the MATHCOUNTS regional competition held Feb. 25 in Mt. Vernon. Edward Yang also placed second individually. Four members of the team, T.J. Marchello, Steven Tanner, Edward Yang and Jason Zhu, will compete in the MATHCOUNTS state competition on March 24 in Richland. The competition is a national middle school coaching and competitive mathematics program that promotes mathematics achievement through a series of fun and engaging “bee” style contests.