Three years after a pedestrian bridge over Pasco’s North 20th Avenue was torn down because of structural issues, students attending Robert Frost Elementary will be getting a crosswalk with pedestrian-activated overhead flashing lights.
The new crossing north of Pearl Street is on a list of safety improvements the city plans to make to a 1.6-mile stretch of the corridor.
Pasco City Council members authorized the project in the 2017 budget at $2,221,000.
Moreno & Nelson Construction Corp. came in with the lowest of two bids for $2,002,385. The council is expected to award the project to the Walla Walla company during its Monday meeting.
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“There’s been a considerable number of accidents within this corridor over the last five years, so we’re looking forward to getting these improvements made,” City Engineer Dan Ford said at the March 13 council meeting.
The project will begin once the city finalizes all contracts with the construction company. It is expected to last 105 working days, which means it could go through summer.
A majority of the work will focus on electronics between West Lewis Street and Sun Willows Boulevard, which is just north of Interstate 182.
Ford said they will upgrade traffic and pedestrian signals at six intersections. Working on that equipment “will provide us some opportunity for efficiency and programming, to better treat the amount of traffic that we deal with on a daily basis,” he said.
Crews will make Americans with Disabilities Act improvements at Lewis, Sylvester, Henry, Court and Pearl streets and Sun Willows Boulevard, and coordinate with the Washington state Department of Transportation for changes to the I-182 on/off ramps.
The project also calls for a narrow section of 20th Avenue to be widened near Robert Frost Elementary, and for the installation of the pedestrian hybrid beacons — or flashing-light crossings — near the school and farther south in the corridor at Marie Street.
The narrow section of the road is where a pedestrian bridge used to extend across the road for decades to help students safely get to school before a crosswalk and traffic signal were placed at the nearby Pearl intersection. The bridge was closed in 2013 and removed a year later.
Ford told council members that the planned upgrades and changes are “all with a common goal to remove potential hazards for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, while improving the overall safety of the corridor.”
Construction costs will be covered by federal grants and local funds for grant match requirements.
Mayor Matt Watkins noted that signal equipment at some of the targeted intersections is 20-plus years old, “so it’s a bit long in the tooth to begin with.”
Ford agreed, and added that the project is a precursor to citywide traffic signal improvements that will deal with 11 intersections.