The City of Poulsbo is moving forward with the advertising process for construction on the first phase of its Noll Road Corridor Project, which could see construction begin as soon as late this summer.
The city announced last week its intention to put out the bid on the approximately $18 to $21 million project, which includes more than $11 million in state and federal grant funds, including the Washington State Legislature’s 2015 Connecting Washington program.
Diane Lenius, the city’s engineer, said the city did everything it could to give contractors the flexibility they need to respond to the bidding process. For example, the city is giving the option of starting the project as late as March of 2021; though it’s possible construction could move ahead as soon as late August or September, Lenius noted. Bid opening is expected to take place on or after May 22.
“The COVID issue is currently impacting everything,” Lenius said. “We did our best to alleviate the risks to the contractor so they could put in a good bid.”
As with just about everything else in the world right now, the construction industry is facing some uncertainty. Gov. Jay Inslee said last week that ongoing projects could resume with proper social distancing protocols in place.
Outdoor projects have an easier time maintaining compliance with such restrictions, which also alleviates some of the uncertainty for contractors interested in bidding.
“It is a large project,” Lenius said. “I think it will be interesting to see how the bids will come in as a result of the climate we have now.”
The first phase consists of a roundabout to be constructed on State Route 305 and Johnson Way — which will then become Johnson Parkway — at Poulsbo’s eastern entrance, which has seen a boom in population in recent years in the form of new housing projects.
The new roadway will give residents of the area another option in driving between SR-305 and their homes. The current intersection at SR-305 and Noll Road has been deemed a safety concern for both motorized and non-motorized users alike. Delays are common as a result of one car attempting to make a left turn onto Noll Road in an area that can easily become snarled with traffic during morning and evening rush hours.
Johnson Parkway will connect with Noll Road at Storhoff Road and the improved road will have a 14-foot wide shared-use path. Part of that shared-use path will include a non-motorized undercrossing — essentially a tunnel — from Lemolo Shore Drive beneath State Route 305 — the first of its kind on the highway — to allow individuals hiking, biking or running to cross the highway safely.
Two of the city’s major events — the Viking Tour bike race and the Poulsbo Half Marathon — do cross SR-305 and could also potentially utilize the crossing.
“I think it will be a really nice asset for the community,” Lenius said.
Phase one of the project also removes the current fish barrier on Bjorgen Creek, which will be replaced by a 14-foot wide fish-friendly box culvert. As required by the state for publicly-funded infrastructure projects, it also incorporates roadside landscaping and public art. Also to be added are upgraded transit stops near the roundabout and rectangular rapid flashing beacons, which are intended to create safer access to transit.
Total construction time for the project is expected to be about 18 months.
Whenever construction begins, the contractor will be required to maintain two lanes of traffic and if one lane must be taken away, the work will have to be done at night, Lenius said. However, drivers should still expect some delays as occasional traffic control flagging will be necessary at times.
Once all three phases of the project are complete, SR-305 will be connected with Lincoln road at the northern end of the city via Noll Road, Languanet Lane and Marantha Road, creating one contiguous roadway.
The City of Poulsbo acquired approximately 34 parcels of land along the route. This project has been in the planning stages in some form or another since 1992.