By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The City of Mill Creek reported major milestones have been reached in the 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction Project. However, the road’s opening has been delayed until March 2019 at the soonest.
According to a City of Mill Creek news release, as of Wednesday, November 14, 2018, all 505 pin piles have been installed by driving them through the peat bog to solid, load-bearing ground. The average depth of the peat bog was 37 feet.
These six-inch diameter pin piles will support the roadway on either side of the new bridge over Penny Creek and will keep the road from further settling.
“Completion of the geotechnical aspect of the project, namely the installation of the pin piles, is a significant milestone in the construction phase because of the sheer number of pin piles and the depths to which they needed to be driven,” said Public Works and Development Services Director Gina Hortillosa.
According to Communications and Marketing Director Joni Kirk, “Crews also removed two 54-inch culverts to restore fish passage to the area, which was a change order to the original project.”
A recent federal court decision required that these culverts had to be removed because Penny Creek is a fish bearing stream. All fish-blocking culverts in Washington State have to be removed by 2030.
The two round culverts will be replaced by a much larger box culvert that will daylight Penny Creek.
Completing this task now while the road is under construction saved having to dig up the newly constructed road to remove the culverts later.
The tight labor market and this change order to the original construction contract has delayed the scheduled reopening of 35th Avenue SE from December 2018, to March 2019.
“This slight delay to open in March is due to a combination of factors including the removal of the two culverts and a labor market shortage,” said Hortillosa. “However, the City is working closely with the contractors to ensure we limit impacts to our community members.”