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City projects planned for 2009

Islanders can expect to come across a few additional stoplights, drive through modified intersections and stroll along new pedestrian pathways as several changes are planned for Island roads this year.

Several transportation improvement projects are budgeted to take place in 2009, including the installation of new traffic signals in the Town Center and one near the high school. Work is also planned to continue on the emergency well pumphouse at Rotary Park, a final decision on the fate of the intersection at Merrimount Drive and Island Crest Way should be accepted in June, and a new pedestrian path down 72nd Avenue S.E. on First Hill should be completed as well.

In all, the city plans to spend about $3 million on eight projects next year. Putting up two new traffic lights in the Town Center along S.E. 27th Street will be the most expensive at $1.3 million, but Islanders would contend that the lights are very much needed. The signals will be installed at 77th and 78th Avenues S.E. along 27th.

A new signal will also be erected near the high school as work for the S.E. 40th corridor improvements project is scheduled to resume this spring. In addition to the new lights, improved intersection and fixed-up sidewalks, the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club’s PEAK project should break ground in June.

The panel of citizens appointed by Mayor Jim Pearman to determine the future of the intersection at Merrimount Drive and Island Crest Way will be working this winter and spring. A final decision by the committee is expected in April, with the Council adopting the plan during its annual road improvement meetings. Construction may begin as early as next fall.

The emergency well pump house at Rotary Park is expected to go to bid this spring and construction could possibly start later in the year. The entire project is valued at around $1.5 million, with much of the design costs already paid. The city may fund the additional $1 million needed to complete the project by the sale of surplus utility property in the First Hill neighborhood, which is also expected to take place this year.

Converting a gravel trail to a paved path is planned for the First Hill neighborhood. In addition to paving the adjacent path, 72nd Avenue S.E. will be re-paved this year. The second phase of the pedestrian path project will be completed in summer 2009.

Finally, two three-week closures of I-90 are planned for this May and July. In order to replace aging and deteriorating expansion joints on the westbound span and center roadway, the closures are necessary. Department of Transportation officials expect traffic on Mercer Island to be congested and plan to divert as much off-Island, unnecessary trips across the bridge as necessary.

For more information, visit the city’s Web site at: www.mercergov.org.

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