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East Mercer Way shoulder work continues

The sixth phase of shoulder construction along East Mercer Way was completed under budget and about three weeks ahead of schedule at the end of June, according to an announcement in the City of Mercer Island’s July 15 newsletter.

The project, which ended up costing slightly less than the original contract price of $225,705, added a 5-foot paved shoulder to the southbound lane of East Mercer Way from S.E. 53rd Place to the 5600 block, and was designed to improve safety for pedestrians and bikers, according to City Council documents and Mercer Island street engineer, Clint Morris.

“Without a paved shoulder along the Mercer Ways, pedestrians must walk in the road,” said Morris. “Having at least one shoulder gives bikes and pedestrians a place to travel with some separation from traffic.”

This project, which was awarded to Precision Earthworks in May, is one of several shoulder improvements that have taken place since 2002, according to Morris.

In 2011, 2013 and 2015, more shoulder projects are scheduled along East Mercer Way. Overall, the upcoming roadwork stages are to extend the shoulder to the 7400 block and cost about $983,500, Morris said.

Altogether, this southbound shoulder, a northbound shoulder on West Mercer Way and an eastbound shoulder on North Mercer Way are to provide a clockwise bike route around the Island. Morris said there was not enough room to build shoulders on both sides of East Mercer Way.

So far, Morris said, the city has found that pedestrians and bicyclists use the new shoulder on East Mercer Way almost every day.

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