Drivers in a couple of years will be able to use a new South 224th Street overpass to cross Highway 167 between the Kent Valley and East Hill.
Two large cranes are in town to help build the overpass. City officials estimate the bridge could be done in mid-2019.
It’s a major extension of the South 224th corridor that first came in front of city leaders in the 1980s to help prepare for population growth to move traffic between the East Hill and Kent Valley.
Now decades later with funds in hand for the estimated $22.8 million first of three phases for the project, work has started.
San Francisco-based Malcolm Drilling, with a Pacific Northwest office in Kent, is the subcontractor that owns and operates the cranes. Kent-based SB Structures is the prime contractor.
The cranes will be used to drill shafts in the Highway 167 center median for the overpass to support the new bridge, said Ken Langholz, city project engineer, in an email. The drilled shafts are 10 feet in diameter and up to 110 feet deep.
“These cranes will be needed throughout the project,” Langholz said. “They are used for drilling the support piers for the bridge. There are 11 piers and each will take about one working week to complete for a total of 11 weeks. This work will not be performed in a non-stop continuous manner, there is some lag time between certain construction activities.”
Crews will use a 200-ton service crane with an 180-foot boom and a 150-ton excavator crane with a 95-foot boom to perform the work. The cost of the overpass and road work is about $15.3 million, Langholz said. The total cost for phase one is about $22.8 million, which includes right-of-way acquisitions, permitting, wetland mitigation, engineering, construction management and miscellaneous costs.
Workers in the first phase of the project will construct a new three-lane roadway to connect East Valley Highway (aka 84th Avenue S./Central Avenue N.) and 88th Avenue South.
Funds for the project will come from Local Improvement District 363, the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, and city traffic impact fees and drainage fees. The state board approved a $5.7 million grant for the first phase of construction and $5 million for phase two.
The second phase, at an estimated cost of $13 million, includes widening 88th Avenue S./S. 218th Street to a three-lane roadway from 88th Avenue South to 94th Place South, as well as a new bridge over Garrison Creek along South 218th Street. That work will start in mid-2018 and be completed by late 2019.
The third and final phase will widen South 218th/216th to a three-lane road from 94th Place South to Benson Road (aka 108th Avenue SE/State Route 515). That work is expected to begin in 2020 or later at an estimated cost of $9 million.
The City Council unanimously approved the project in 2008 in an effort to provide an alternate route between the Kent Valley and East Hill, as well as improve safety on the upper portion of the road where it will replace a narrow street that lacks paved shoulders, sidewalks and a turn lane. Funding and permits delayed the project for about 10 years.
The road will run parallel to Highway 167 on the east side before going up South 218th Street to 98th Avenue South, where it will curve to South 216th Street and then connect to 108th Avenue Southeast.
The South 228th corridor was one of three east-west corridors planned by the city in the 1980s to move traffic between the West Hill and East Hill through the valley, said City Public Works Director Tim LaPorte. The other corridors include South 277th Street and South 196th Street.