Government officials are inviting Pierce County residents to celebrate the completion of a series of projects along the 176th Street East corridor between B Street East and State Route 161 with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 10.
The ceremony kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Pierce Fire & Rescue Station No. 60, 17520 22nd Ave. E in Tacoma.
Up to 25,000 vehicles per day travel the176th Street East corridor near the intersection of 176th Street East and Canyon Road East. In 1989, the traffic count was about 8,000 at that same location.
Crews completed the corridor in six major segments that spanned more than 6 miles. Over the years, the county widened portions of the roadway to add additional lanes, installed new lights and traffic signals, and added sections of sidewalks and medians, among other improvements.
“The improvements will increase capacity, relieve traffic congestion, aid the movement of freight and goods, and contribute to public safety by adding sidewalks, lighting and traffic signals,” said Brian Ziegler, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities director. “We are pleased with the results of 18 years of effort by our employees, partners and contractors.”
Design work on the corridor began in 1996, while construction began in 2003. Major work on the final project – from B Street East to 14th Avenue East – is expected to be complete this winter, with some minor work expected through the early spring. Pierce County will also make final improvements to the intersection of 78th Avenue East and 176th Street East in 2015 after ongoing coordination with environmental regulatory agencies is complete.
The work on the completed projects cost a combined $71.2 million. Funding came from a combination of traffic impact fees, Transportation Improvement Board funds, County Road Funds, real estate excise taxes and bonds, and developer funds (State Environmental Policy Act mitigation contributions).
The 176th Street East corridor is one of several arterials around the county that has been upgraded to include curbs, gutters and sidewalks to allow expanded access for pedestrians and bicyclists. Also, crews installed pervious concrete sidewalks and shoulders from B Street East to 14th Avenue East to reduce surface water runoff. This is the first time Pierce County has used pervious concrete on the shoulders of an arterial roadway.
The county also constructed a new railroad crossing bridge just west of Canyon Road East. Workers removed the old two-lane bridge and built the new bridge during a four-month road closure.
Finally, road workers added raised medians to the roadway to increase safety, control access to businesses, and improve traffic flow. The medians have a combination of drought tolerant plants and hardscape features, and also include depressed curbs to accommodate fire and aid vehicle cross over.
Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony include Brian Ziegler, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Councilmember Jim McCune of District 3, and Transportation Improvement Board Executive Director Steve Gorcester.
Remarks will be made inside the fire station, and the ribbon cutting will be held in front of the station along 176th Street East. Parking is limited at the fire station. Attendees are encouraged to carpool.
Brian D. Stacy, P.E., Public Works and Utilities county engineer
Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer