Northwest NEWS

August 24, 1998


Adequate design needed for SR202/148th intersection

   It is the responsibility of the city to provide an adequate transportation system for its citizens. It has been well known for years that the SR 202/148th Ave. NE intersection is not adequate for the volume of traffic passing through it during the rush hour. The city must act to improve this intersection.
   Woodinville is not a mega-metropolis with a huge budget. Woodinville is a small town with limited resources. The resources must be used prudently.
   Approximately 30 days ago, on July 13 at a city council meeting, Mr. Lanspery of CH2M Hill stated that his firm could complete the design of the SR 202/148th Ave. NE intersection in three months. Several Mondays ago, CH2M comes to the city council meeting with a contract that indicates they will take an entire year, spend $114,000 and only produce a "Pre-Design." The final design will presumably take years to develop with undefined costs. The design of the SR 202/127th intersection was proposed to cost the city $400,000 in consulting fees to CH2M. If this same fee is charged in addition to the "Pre-Design" fee at the SR 202/148th Ave NE intersection, the total engineering bill will be over a half-million dollars. This is about 50% of the construction costs. A half million dollar design fee is unnecessary and unaffordable.
   When a person does not have a deadline to meet, they will expand the time it takes to complete the task to fill the available time. CH2M appears to be expanding the work on this project because the city is giving them no direction or deadlines.
   Five years ago, King County gave a huge sum of money to consultants for a major study of Trib 90. The study came up with six options to "fix" the stream. None of the options were ever constructed.
   This was the second county funded study that was a waste of taxpayer money. If the city is led down this same path, it will be many years before anything is done with the road intersection.
   The traffic congestion will continue to increase and the city will have nothing but a file full of useless studies.
   There are two ways for the city to approach the design of the SR 202/148th intersection:
  1. Pay a consultant a large fee to create half a dozen maps with different options of which only one will be physically possible without condemning property in lengthy legal proceedings. After all the options are reviewed and discussed at various meetings, they will be revised and reviewed again and again, until finally the consultant is paid another larger fee to actually design plans that can be constructed. This process will take years to complete.
  2. Hire a consultant to create construction drawings for the intersection with some guidelines about what is to be expected as a final result. The minimum result necessary is to improve the level of service with a road system that meets current regulations. According to Mr. Lanspery's previous statement, CH2M can complete a design in three months. This appears to be a more reasonable course of action.
   It is well known what needs to be done at the SR 202/148th Ave. NE intersection. Construction of a five-lane road along 148th Ave. NE which will taper to three lanes to the north and south has been the cities proposed maximum built out condition for years.
   The existing Trib 90 channel along the Hollywood Schoolhouse road frontage will be enclosed either for the main channel or a high flow bypass. Whether or not a portion of Trib 90 is directed through private property for a fish habitat is not critical to designing the roadway at this time. The Apple Farm Village project is already proposing to construct 10' pedestrian/bicycle trails along its 148th Ave. and SR 202 road frontage. There now exists adequate right-of-way for the five lane road. All other issues are minor.
   The City of Woodinville does not have unlimited funds to spend on roads, parks or a city hall. All funds must be used judicially.
   The city should not be in the position where it must pay expensive litigation costs due to its neglect of the transportation system.
   Woodinville cannot afford the government as usual mode where money is continuously thrown at problems in a piecemeal fashion to put out little fires without regard to the big picture. Every dollar should be accountable to the big picture.
   The city should request that CH2M complete an adequate design for the SR 202/148th intersection for the total fee not to exceed $114,000 with completion in three months. If CH2M is not willing or able to do this, then the city should contact other consultants to see if they would be willing and able to complete the design.
   The "Capital Improvement Plan" approved by the city council last Monday, ranks projects based on a number of different issues.
   This is probably a good way of assessing projects. However, the draft CIP proposes to construct the 5th and 6th ranked project before the 1st ranked project.
   This should be changed so that the grant money is used as necessary and the remainder of the 5th and 6th ranked projects should be delayed until after completion of the higher ranked projects.
   Tim Schriever, Woodinville