SEQUIM — Construction bids opened this week for West Fir Street, one of Sequim’s biggest road projects in recent years.
Bids tentatively close March 15 for the approximately $5 million project that reconstructs half-a-mile of roadway from Sequim Avenue to Fifth Avenue.
Construction is expected to last 18 months and could begin as soon as April following the Sequim City Council’s approval of construction contractors.
“By the time we analyze bids and get contracts signed, we’re going to be into April, and depending on what the contractor is ready to work, we’ll start in April or May,” said David Garlington, Sequim Public Works director.
In the call for bids, city staff said improvements include a number of installations including new water, sewer and irrigation piping, curbs and gutters, and much more.
Overhead utilities also will be buried during the project.
Construction crews will widen Fir Street to 45 feet from Sequim to Fourth avenues and 53 feet from Fourth to Fifth avenues — including two 5-foot-wide bike lanes from Sequim to Fourth and two 6-foot-wide bike lanes from Fourth to Fifth.
City staff previously said that traffic studies indicated a traffic light is needed for the intersection of Fir Street and Fifth Avenue while the intersection of Sequim Avenue and Fir Street sees less demand for traffic.
Crews will install “pedestrian activated rectangular rapid flashing beacons” to signs at Sequim Avenue and Fir Street to indicate a pedestrian is crossing.
Possibly the biggest disturbance for drivers and residents is that Fir Street will become one-way and one lane going west at times during construction. However, city staff said drivers will be able to turn on Second, Third and Fourth avenues.
Crews also will permanently open up a portion of Helen Haller Elementary’s parking lot between Sequim School District’s bus drop-off area and the school’s parking to be one-way that exits into the western parking lot. City staff previously said bus parking will remain unaffected.
In total, the city paid about $375,000 for right-of-way purchases from Fir Street residents and the Sequim School District.
Part of that purchase includes right-of-way that will move the district’s parking lots and softball fields 4 to 5 feet north and include landscaping buffers.
Funding for this project partly came from the Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Ecology.
For more information about the West Fir Street Rehabilitation project, call Sequim Public Works at 360-683-4908 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].