After the mess, 3rd St. will be beautiful

MARYSVILLE – Ron Armstrong has been renting a little house on Third Street for 32 years.

This week, construction that will last until April started to improve the road.

Adam Benton, the city’s project manager on the $1.6 million project, said the construction company has an aggressive plan that could finish it by late January. But because road temperatures need to be 50 degrees to lay asphalt it may not be totally done until later.

Benton said there are many benefits to the project.

A Department of Ecology grant will pay for 75 percent of it. The goal is to not send surface water to the slough, but to put it back into the ground. An infiltration system will pump the water to rain gardens that will be built on Third Street itself. The water will be filtered by the plants and soils and reclaimed into the water table.

Some 2,500 plants will beautify the road, adding to the ambiance of Third Street.

Another benefit will be traffic circles.

“People drive a little fast,” Benton said, adding new sidewalks will make it more walkable.

Also, a water main, in place since 1953, will be replaced.

Benton said he talked to about 95 percent of the residents, and most were happy about slowing down traffic. The circles might even convince some drivers to take another route.

Jody Beam said she is happy about the traffic circles.

“It will slow traffic down,” she said. “There is speeding and racing all night long.”

She said it’s a shame they will be losing a tree out front, and there’s little parking in back. But she’s glad they don’t live on the corner, where property is being taken for the traffic calming devices and rain gardens.

Some businesses along Third weren’t as happy about the project, because of the loss of parking for customers.

Kevin Everett of Evergreen Home Loans said he wished the city could find another spot to store pipes and other items that will be used in the road construction. They are taking up about six parking spots on a side street. Customers and employees have to park in other areas.

“They can’t get in here,” he said.

Third Street Books also has an issue with the parking. Heavy machinery is sitting in spaces where their customers normally park.

Benton said the construction company has been asked to keep parking spots open as much as it can. He said it should get better after the first week.

They are working on the north side of the street first, and trying to keep spots open to the south.

While Third Street will remain open, some of the connecting side streets will be temporarily closed from time to time.

The longtime resident, Armstrong, said he doesn’t mind the inconvenience of the road being torn up. “I can live with it,” he said, adding he had to move a sign to get into his driveway.

He said he is glad to be getting a new sidewalk.

“It hasn’t been serviced in a long time – forever. It’s going to be beneficial to all of us.”

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