1st St. Bypass work to start Monday

MARYSVILLE – With the last house finally removed, work will begin Monday on one of the largest construction projects undertaken by the city.

The City Council awarded a contract of nearly $13 million Monday to Scarsella Bros., Inc., to build the 1st Street Bypass.

The project will widen 1st Street from two to five lanes between State and Alder, then extend 1st Street as a two-lane bypass between Alder and 47th Avenue NE. The city warns motorists to expect significant construction traffic.

Roadway improvements will include a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path, street lighting and traffic signal improvements. The contractor will install fencing and erosion-control elements to prepare the work area for clearing. Scarsella Bros. then will begin removing unsuitable soils and installing ground improvements. The city expects to complete the bypass by the end of 2020. Together with the state’s new Interstate 5 freeway interchange at Highway 529 expected to open in 2022, these projects will offer a new commuter alternative that bypasses 4th Street congestion and BNSF railroad tracks. It will provide a new entryway into the city. And the bypass will help disperse traffic congestion from downtown.

“We will do our best to minimize impacts to the community,” said Steve Miller, senior project manager. “We appreciate your patience…” Public Works director Kevin Nielsen said at the council meeting that the city has been looking at doing something like this since the 1970s.

“And the price never got smaller,” Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima said.

Also at the meeting, parks director Jim Ballew said starting next year, Maryfest, the nonprofit that puts on the Marysville Strawberry Festival each year, has agreed to pay $15,000 to help pay for overtime the city incurs that week.

In the past, the city has shown its support for the community festival by absorbing that overtime in its budget.

But Hirashima said in festivals in other cities organizers help pay for city costs.

As to how that amount came about, Hirashima said the city wanted to be “sensitive to the organization’s” ability to pay. The city will still support the festival when help is needed during regular hours.

“This has never been done before. It’s a step in the right direction,” Ballew said, to which council members Mark James and Kamille Norton agreed.

Meanwhile, planning director Dave Koenig, who is retiring this summer, said construction has started on a new $8 million La Quinta Inn off of 116th Street. It is just south of a hotel right on 116th that is on hold because of a bankruptcy. He also said his department has processed seven plats with a total of 275 lots, along with 103 single-family homes and 12 other units, such as duplexes. The planning department processed 66 new business licenses in April, with 193 this year total.

And, the first business has applied for a tax exemption set up to encourage firms to locate in the Arlington Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center.

Finally, the city showed a video about its waterfront that will be used to market and educate people about the area. It talks about the desire for Phase 1 mixed-use development east of the bridge with businesses and multi-family housing. Phase 2 near the water west of the railroad would be the same, but north of that would be a restaurant and entertainment district, in the vicinity of the Opera House. There would also be a walkway through the Marysville Towne Plaza from Ebey Waterfront Park to the new Civic Campus being built on Sixth Street.

In other council news:

•Nielsen said he’s excited about upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plan, which is going to cost more than the Grove Street Overcrossing.

•Ballew said the Spray Park will open in two weeks. Also, Costco donated $2,000 in flowers to the city.

•Councilman Tom King said the city’s Strawberry Festival float won the Mayor’s Award at last weekend’s Sequim Irrigation Festival.

•Communications director Connie Mennie said the railway at 116th will be replaced, causing some detours.

•Nicholas Brevig, a former firefighter, was sworn in as a police officer.

•Al Aldrich is retiring from Strategies 360. He has lobbied for the city for 12 years in Olympia.

•Nehring proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 12-18 as Police Week. He also attended the ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of Ryder trucks.

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