Tremont Street widening project receives $8 million from state’s Transportation Improvement Board

Grant assures Port Orchard priority project will proceed

PORT ORCHARD — The long-stalled Tremont Street widening project will soon have road equipment at work to kick off its long-delayed start of construction.

The City of Port Orchard was notified Nov. 18 that it will receive $8 million in funding from the state Transportation Improvement Board for the city of Port Orchard’s top priority transportation project.

The money is essential to completing the project that has been at the top of the city’s transportation plan since 2005.

Mayor Rob Putaansuu said he is excited to now have the city move forward with completion of the gateway arterial into Port Orchard. The mayor said the expansion is vital to allowing Port Orchard to grow, and to provide for capacity, safety and pedestrian improvements along the roadway.

“We were all committed to making this happen,” Putaansuu said of the City Council and city officials who have worked since the project was announced in 2005.

“This is a shovel-ready project,” Putaansuu said, “and we anticipate work starting in 2017.”

The Tremont project is estimated to cost $18 million to construct. For the pending construction phase, the city will use $1.7 million in funding it received from the Puget Sound Regional Council. The city needs about $8.3 million to round out funding the construction project, but it expects to contain those costs from a variety of sources, including additional funding from the state, transportation impact fees and bonding.

“If needed, we’ll take on the responsibility to complete funding to bond the remaining amount,” he said. Putaansuu said he’s still hoping for additional funding help from the state.

Earlier, the project was kick-started with $3.5 million it received in federal grant funding for the design, environmental review and right-of-way acquisition phase of the project.

When a contract to build the transportation improvement project is awarded sometime in May, city officials that when completed, it will have expanded the busy arterial from two to four lanes of traffic, added two roundabouts, bike lanes and sidewalks. It also will provide utility improvements, and safety and capacity upgrades.

Putaansuu said the TIB deserves credit for helping push the plan forward. “Steve Gorchester (the board’s executive director) deserves so much of the credit for taking the lead in pushing for our project,” Putaansuu said.

The Tremont Project funding amount topped the list from among 115 street and sidewalk improvement projects receiving a total of $121.2 million from the state agency, the mayor said.