April 22, 2002
Good news for Woodinville commuters
By Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
Backhoes, traffic flaggers and flashing blue lights became a familiar sight the past two weeks at the 131st intersection. No more.
Public Works Director Mick Monken said the construction work that closed Little Bear Creek Parkway (the former Northeast 177th Place) has ended.
The road was closed Sunday, April 7, and re-opened Saturday, April 20. Monken announced the good news on the Thursday before the road re-opened, stating, "The paving is going down right now as we speak." Base pavement was applied that will provide, when complete, four lanes along Little Bear Creek Parkway east of 131st Avenue NE, two in the eastbound direction and two in the westbound direction. Rockery work at that section of roadway will continue for the next two months, but the work won't interfere with traffic. The intersection improvements are the first stage of a two-stage project. The completion of the first stage alleviates congestion with the widening of the road, making it easier for right turn traffic moving westbound. "It's to help reduce traffic congestion," Monken said. "The improvement is to move more cars through in a shorter period of time and provide an alternate route through the downtown area."
The second stage of the project will install two left turn lanes going southbound. Said Monken, "We hope to begin the project this year."
The road project at Little Bear Creek Parkway is funded by a utility tax approved by the City Council in 1998. Though the second stage of roadwork hasn't yet begun, citizens will notice the benefits of the first stage now and Monken noted, "They should notice an improvement right away."
In addition, a minor widening at the Mill Place intersection on 178th is scheduled to begin in the near future. "We expect to start construction this year and complete in 2003," Monken said.
The Little Bear Creek Parkway improvements are the first of three projects scheduled this year to relieve downtown traffic congestion.