$1.3 million contract approved for Bay Street reconstruction

The next critical point in the plans to reconstruct a west portion of downtown Bay Street in Port Orchard has been reached with the approval of a $1.3 million contract with KPFF Consulting Engineers.

The City Council passed the measure Nov. 28.

The vote allows the city to set its sights on finding a solid construction timeframe for the project, which will upgrade a portion of Highway 166 or Bay Street from Geiger to Frederick avenues. Among the upgrades are plans to elevate the street to address consistent flooding issues brought on by heavy rains and king tides, as well as anticipated potential for a rise in sea level.

Also included are plans to address ongoing transportation issues, including reducing traffic speeds, providing accommodation for on-road cyclists, wider sidewalks and improvements to street lighting.

“This is a huge milestone,” Mayor Rob Putaansuu said, “and six to nine months from now, we’re going to be able to have some better clarity as far as when we can start construction.”

Anxiously awaiting that clarity is Kitsap Bank, whose construction of a new headquarters is a project that is expected to reach completion at the same time.

“We’re raising the road by a foot and a half,” Putaansuu said, “and they don’t want to have their grand opening and be a foot and a half higher than the roads and the sidewalks.”

Councilmember Jay Rosapepe said he was pleased with the city’s preparations in meeting a grant’s 13.5% local contribution in the 2023-24 biennial budget.

“It was nice to see that we had already programmed the local match here. No budget resolution will be needed, and it’s already in the budget. That’s good news too, financially,” Rosapepe said.