SNOHOMISH COUNTY – At a virtual ceremony May 13, Snohomish County Public Works was awarded the American Public Works Association (APWA) 2021 Project of the Year award for its S. Machias Rd. and Machias Cutoff Intersection Improvement Project in the Transportation, Under $5 Million category.

The APWA, a non-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works, presents the Public Works Project of the Year awards annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the contractor, the consultant, and their cooperative achievements.

With over 63 chapters in North America, the APWA supports those who operate, improve, and maintain public works and infrastructure through advocacy, education, and member engagement.

“This award is a testament to our team’s ability to complete projects that benefit our community and the environment during a challenging year,” said Kelly Snyder, Public Works Director in a recent Snohomish County press release. “By partnering with our contractor, Strider Construction, we were able to work together to complete this project safely, on time and on budget – congratulations to all involved!”

The project was not without its challenges, however, battling the health, financial, and logistical constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, delayed permitting due a government shutdown in 2018, coordinating with five utility companies, and environmental constraints. Despite its complexities, the project was completed in June 2020.

“This was not your typical intersection improvement project, due to the many challenges the project presented,” said Doug McCormick, Public Works Deputy Director and County Engineer in the Snohomish County press release. “This project wouldn’t have been possible or successful without the coordination and partnership between our Public Works and Parks staff and the many partners including utilities, partner and permitting agencies, and the public’s patience.”

South Machias Rd. is an arterial that carries traffic from Snohomish to Lake Stevens and onward to SR 92 and the Machias Cutoff, branching off from S. Machias Rd. The $2.1 million project aims to alleviate the risk of rear-end collisions by improving roadways to allow more efficient vehicle movement, integrating the Centennial Trail crossing, providing new signals, and adding amenities such as a new fish passage culvert over thousands of native vegetation, bike rests, and crosswalk buttons accessible from horseback. Before the improvements, the intersection operated as a busy three-legged, all-way stop. The entrance to the Centennial Regional Trail ran adjacent to the intersection, creating congestion.

According to Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low, the project is an important improvement for the Machias area, making it safer for trail users to safely cross S. Machias Rd. and improving traffic.

This year marks the second year in a row Snohomish County has been awarded an APWA project of the year award, winning the $25 million to $75 million Environmental category in 2020 for its Smith Island Estuary Restoration project.

Kienan Briscoe

Michael Kienan Briscoe (referred to by his middle name 'Kienan') has a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University and has worked as a freelancer for a variety of publications and organizations throughout New York City and Seattle. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important public tools to ensure an educated and aware society of events surrounding them. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry, playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors. He lives in Seattle with his two dogs.

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