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Paving project begins

State meeting to answer questions on project through Omak, Okanogan

The state’s project to repave the main road through Okanogan and Omak gets under way tomorrow.

State Highway 215 will be repaved from the south Okanogan city limits to its intersection with U.S. Highway 97 at the north end of Omak. The route is known as Second Avenue and Elmway in Okanogan and Okoma Drive, West Fourth Avenue, Main Street and Riverside Drive in Omak.

An open house, to answer questions about the work, is planned for 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday at the state Department of Transportation office, 28862 U.S. Highway 97.

“With an average daily traffic count of 13,000 vehicles in this corridor, the project will affect both communities from now through Labor Day,” project engineer Kevin Waligorski said. “While we’ve tried to reduce the inconvenience as much as possible, we want people to know what’s being done and when, so they can plan for it.”

“For April, May and most of June, there will be no actual road work” as Granite Northwest Inc. crews do preliminary work on 130 sidewalk sites to bring them up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards and install “bulb-out” crossings in Omak and Okanogan, department spokesman Jeff Adamson said.

Earlier this year, Omak City Council authorized bulb-outs at three intersections along Main Street, City Administrator Ralph Malone said.

A bulb-out is an extension of the sidewalk that puts pedestrians closer to the traveling lane so motorists can see them better. That can make it easier for someone to cross a street.

The city received a Department of Transportation grant to pay for bulb-outs at Apple, Bartlett and First avenues and additional lighting.

Grant and match money will be turned over to the state and rolled into the paving project contract, Malone said. The project is expected to cost about $430,000, including the city’s $40,000 match.

Okanogan also plans additional bulb-outs at Second Avenue and Pine Street. The city already has bulb-outs at Queen and Rose streets.

The city received a $99,000 Transportation Improvement Board grant for the project, including improvements to Pine Street between First and Third avenues. It also will be piggybacked onto the state project, Public Works Director Shawn Davisson said.

Granite Northwest Inc., 249 Rodeo Trail Road, will be paid more than $3.18 million to remove the existing pavement, install new asphalt, upgrade signs and striping, and bring sidewalk ramps up to ADA standards.

Adamson said standards for ramp inclines have changed, so existing ramps have to be replaced. Crosswalk signal buttons also have to be replaced to meet the standards, and the pedestrian island at the intersection of Riverside Drive and U.S. Highway 97 will be replaced.

“Decorative pavers to match existing commercial themes also are included” in the ramp and bulb-out work, Adamson said. “During the first two months, the biggest impact will be on pedestrians as they are detoured around the sidewalk demolition and reconstruction.”

Both cities have been doing utility work in advance of the state project, so as not to dig up the new pavement.

Buno Construction worked all winter on Omak’s sewer line replacement project along the route before the state project begins.

Okanogan is replacing 11 manholes on Second Avenue between Norman and Harley streets. That project is under way.

KRCI, Wenatchee, is doing the work on a $166,252.84 contract.

Adamson said actual paving is expected in July and August, with crews working at night.

The pavement will be ground off and then replaced. He said noise shouldn’t be a factor, since the asphalt has deteriorated enough that it’s soft and will grind off easily.

Motorists can expect two-way traffic with lane shifts through the three-lane sections of the road and 20-minute delays with flaggers when crews are working in two-lane sections.

The project also includes a small portion of state Highway 155 east of Main Street in Omak.

Work will be suspended Aug. 7-10 during the Omak Stampede.

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