A truck travels through a flooded 76th Avenue South in Kent. A project this year will raise the road so it doesn’t flood anymore. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

A truck travels through a flooded 76th Avenue South in Kent. A project this year will raise the road so it doesn’t flood anymore. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent City Council approves $4.4 million 76th Avenue South project

Road to be raised to stop flooding

The longtime flooding in Kent of 76th Avenue South will come to an end later this year when crews raise the road.

The Kent City Council awarded the $4.4 million project on Tuesday, May 5, during a virtual meeting to Puyallup-based Northwest Cascade Inc., which had the lowest of nine bids submitted.

“It’s long been a problem for the city, it’s way, way low,” City Public Works Director Tim LaPorte said to the City Council about the often-flooded road.

A $2.5 million grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board will help pay for the project. The rest of the monies will come from the B&O, storm drainage and water utility funds.

Work is expected to be completed this year along 76th Avenue South from South 220th Street to South 214th Street, LaPorte said.

The street often floods in the winter after heavy rain. The project will include raising the road above the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood elevation, a new three-lane roadway, curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm system, watermain system, illumination, planters, irrigation and several driveway improvements.

The street serves approximately 5,800 businesses employing more than 77,000, according to city documents.

City staff also reached an agreement last year with aerospace company Blue Origin to raise the road in exchange for the company to pay for a stormwater facility as part of its large expansion that opened in January. The council approved the agreement.

Teams from the city and Blue Origin worked out the details. City code would have required the company to construct half-street improvements on the western side of the road as a condition of development on the west side of the street. That street improvement would have included the requirement to raise the road about 3 feet so that it no longer floods from Mill Creek.

Chad Bieren, city Public Works deputy director, said last year that the cost of the city to buy industrial property for a stormwater facility would exceed the cost for the improvements to 76th Avenue South.

The raised section of the road will be done in concrete to help the street last longer. A high number of trucks use the road daily.

The city received nine bids for the project that ranged from $4.4 million to $5.3 million.

“Bids came in very good,” LaPorte said. “We had nine bidders which is incredible and the low bid is a half million less than the engineer’s estimate ($4.94 million).”

The council on Tuesday also awarded a $4.7 million project to Active Construction, Inc., to build a roundabout this summer at Fourth Avenue South and Willis Street.

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