City of Mill Creek awards 35th Avenue SE reconstruction contract and starts change order discussions

35th Avenue SE at Penny Creek closed in 2015. Photo credit: Richard Van Winkle.
35th Avenue SE at Penny Creek closed in 2015. Photo credit: Richard Van Winkle.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

The good news is that competitive bidding for the 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction project resulted in a lower construction project cost than what was budgeted. The bad news is that a change order now being negotiated will reduce the cost savings.

At their regular April 24, 2018, meeting the Mill Creek City Council authorized City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto to execute a $4,692,000 construction contract with Harbor Pacific Contractors, Inc. for the 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction Project.

Three bids were received and after an evaluation by city staff, it was determined that Harbor Pacific Contractors, Inc. submitted the lowest responsive bid.

The city has spent just under $500,000 over the past four years on detailed design engineering to get the project“shovel-ready” for construction, which should start in the next couple of months.

The total remaining estimated cost for this project is now $5,303,300, which includes a $611,300 construction management contract that was awarded by the city to construction management firm Gray & Osborne.

Because 35th Avenue SE is a major north-south arterial road that carries about 15,000 cars through Snohomish County each day, Washington State and Snohomish County are providing $5,300,000 to help fund construction.

Senator Steve Hobbs, Democrat – Lake Stevens, was instrumental in getting the Washington State funding for the project, which totals out to $5,250,000.

This means that if the total estimated cost is correct, the City of Mill Creek will only have to shell out an additional $3,300 to fix the road. However, any cost-overruns will be paid by the city.

Public Works and Development Services Director Gina Hortillosa told the city council on April 24th that the project cost may soon increase.

Hortillosa explained that the project’s original Hydraulic Project Approval previously issued by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife required that Penny Creek, which flows underneath 35th Avenue SE, be daylighted eventually. There was no time requirement for this to occur.

Penny Creek now flows through two 54” in diameter culverts encased in concrete below the road surface. 

Daylighting Penny Creek involves replacing these culverts with a large box-like structure providing a more natural stream.

Daylighting Washington State streams is a priority for local tribes and recent court decisions require the state to make this happen sooner than later.

City staff were working under the assumption that daylighting Penny Creek was years away, but a recent engineering design change triggered a review of the original Fish and Wildlife Hydraulic Project Approval and according to Hortillosa Fish and Wildlife now requires the city begin construction on the Penny Creek daylighting project no later than March 23, 2021.

It will cost the city less to issue a change order to the current project than to tear up the new road to replace the culverts in two years, so city staff are now working with consulting engineers and the new contractor on a change order to the contract.

Hortillosa estimated this change would cost $250,000 to $500,000 and will begin change order discussions soon.



35th renovation

I really hope they have done some good engineering surveys. We have lived here 25 years and knowing the history of the road,  (my feelings only), this needs more than just a filled and paved road. Since it is proposed that it be "open" it needs to be built on pilings driven deep into the peat bog, and then bridged over the creek, otherwise we will be right back where we are now in 10 years or less. If that much money and time is going to be invested, do it right this time and everyone will benefit. 

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