East James Street reopened Thursday after a 20-day closure to replace asphalt with concrete. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

East James Street reopened Thursday after a 20-day closure to replace asphalt with concrete. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent’s James Street hill commute route open again | Update

Concrete surface installed during 20-day closure

The popular James Street hill commute route in Kent reopened on Thursday afternoon, a day sooner than expected.

Crews expected to have the street open by Friday morning, Aug. 10, after they replaced the deteriorating asphalt surface with longer-lasting concrete. City officials closed the street on July 21 for 20 days between Central Avenue North and Jason Avenue to allow crews to install the concrete. Public Works crews said on Monday the street will be open by the Friday morning commute.

Although major concrete roadway improvements will be completed, intermittent lane restrictions will be necessary periodically for another 10 days or so to finish miscellaneous, smaller items of work such as striping.

City officials awarded the original contract to allow for 60 days of construction under one-lane of traffic in each direction. The community agreed at a public meeting and on social media to allow the limited time, full-road closure to effectively cut project duration in half and save the city about $200,000. Kiewit proposed the full closure in order to speed up the project. The City Council awarded the low bid on June 5 to Kiewit for $1.89 million. Funds from the city’s business and occupation tax paid for the work.

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