Harbour Reach Corridor Construction project underway after 15 years of speed bumps
By: Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
MUKILTEO- Construction of a new roadway connecting Beverly Park Road to Harbour Pointe Boulevard is finally underway after a decade and a half of planning. The roadway will provide a north-south alternative to the Mukilteo Speedway, increasing the city of Mukilteo’s traffic capacity, while also alleviating congestion.
The Harbour Reach Corridor construction project will reconnect parts of the city’s grid through the alternative route. Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson is hopeful that a decreased time of mobility and increased access to Mukilteo schools and amenities will bridge together the two communities residing in the Harbour Pointe area with those on Beverly Park Road.
“We’re creating a better connection for those neighborhoods. It’s not only for the people that live in those areas, but there’s a lot of businesses in Harbour Point,” explained Gregerson. “I feel like this connection will make people feel more connected to Mukilteo itself.”
The corridor will contain a bicycle lane with buffer space separating the path from the adjacent vehicle lane, and sidewalks on both sides of the roadway.
“[The project] creates a safe way to walk and bike along the corridor,” explained Gregerson. “Cars have roads that make it easy to travel, and we don’t always have the facilities to make it easier for people to choose to bike or walk, so this is a chance to improve that.”
Introducing a safe way for Mukilteo residents to participate in nonmotorized means of transportation, through the new infrastructure, will likely result in increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists within the city, says Public Works Director Andrea Swisstack.
“Right now, a family isn’t going to bike along the speedway because it doesn’t feel safe,” stated Swisstack. “Providing a facility that is safe and allows people to feel more comfortable might encourage more users and ridership.”
Swisstack says that safety considerations for vehicles also played a significant role in the corridor’s design. A roundabout will replace the intersection at South Road to provide additional safety and traffic benefits. According to a Harbour Reach Corridor Project presentation at a community workshop in 2016, having a roundabout instead of a standard intersection has shown to reduce accidents resulting in injury by 76%, fatalities by 90%, as well as a 40% reduction in pedestrian injuries and 75% fewer conflict points.
According to Swisstack, the construction of the corridor will result in environmental impacts, so they’ve also intentionally designed the project to include a 13-foot-wide wildlife and fish-passible covert at South Fork Picnic Point Creek.
The project has been a test of patience for city officials and the project’s team. Before the start of construction, the corridor was in limbo for fifteen years. Mayor Gregerson, a member of the City Council since 2004, remembers the first feasibility study for the Harbour Reach Corridor Project taking place in 2005 but says funding constraints led to repetitive design revisions to stay within budget.
“The biggest thing that took us so long from 2005 to today, was completing the funding for the project,” explained Swisstack. “The state dollars we received… finally made this project a reality and tangible.”
In 2017, the city of Mukilteo received $15.1 million in state funding and $1 million in city traffic mitigation impact fees. In 2018, they received an additional $2.3 million through the Transportation Improvement Board. The total project budget is set at $18.3 million.
“Filling in those missing pieces to the puzzle made it a reality. We did have to do a lot of cost savings to get it in the budget to continue to move forward,” continued Swisstack. “It’s had a big impact on how the final project is going to look, but it’s going to be an amazing corridor that creates connection.”
COVID-19 has yet to impose further delays on the project, as precautions and measures have been in place from the start of construction in April, says Swisstack. The project is set to be completed by September of 2021. For more information about the Harbour Reach Corridor project, visit https://mukilteowa.gov/harbour-reach-drive-extension/.