Last stretch of Kennewick's Steptoe project to begin

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJuly 4, 2014 

KENNEWICK -- Construction will begin this month on the last segment of Steptoe Street needed to connect it to 10th Avenue.

And finishing Hildebrand Boulevard isn't far behind.

The Kennewick City Council unanimously awarded a $6 million contract to Premier Excavation of Pasco for the project earlier this week.

The projects are part of Kennewick's effort to extend roads through the Southridge area. And they are the last pieces needed to complete the extension between Highway 240 and Highway 395.

Kennewick Mayor Steve Young said the roads were among the council's top priorities.

Steptoe Street now stops at Fourth Avenue.

As part of the project, it will be extended with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane to 10th Avenue, where it will end at a new roundabout, said Cary Roe, the city's public works director.

The roundabout, which also will connect with Clodfelter Road, will be built as part of this project. That area is known as Five Corners.

Tenth Avenue also will be improved to Montana Street, he said. And Clodfelter Road from Clearwater Avenue to Five Corners will be renamed Steptoe Street.

City sewer service then will be extended from Five Corners along what will become Hildebrand Boulevard, Roe said. Kennewick still needs to acquire some rights of way and a property to finish Hildebrand, which will have one lane in each direction and a median.

Apollo Inc. has given the city permission to install a sewer line through its property in the area, he said.

There is an area where sewer service can't be installed yet because the city is still in negotiations for the right of way, Roe said. So the sewer extension will end with a 3,000-foot gap between the new portion and where Hildebrand Boulevard ends at Sherman Street, he said.

The city hopes to come to an agreement with those property owners, and then to negotiate changes to the contract to include those properties, Roe said.

After the sewer line is installed, the contractor will rough grade what will become the road, he said.

"It will look like a road. It just won't be paved," Roe said.

Paving the road has to wait until after the city and Apollo come to an agreement, he said. Then the city will bid the project and finish paving the road at least as far as sewer has been extended.

About $3.1 million for the project is being paid for using a state grant. The remainder is coming from the city's sewer and water fund and the street fund, Roe said.

The city is trying to get another grant or a Public Works Trust Fund loan so the curb, gutter, sidewalks and streetlights for the new portion of Hildebrand Boulevard can be built at the same time.

Then, the city will pursue a latecomers' agreement so property owners would pay their portion of the cost as they develop, Roe said.

Otherwise, developers would be required to build the curb, gutter and sidewalks adjacent to their property when they develop it, he said.

Construction will continue into next year.

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