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Bye bye, Boalch bounce: Repairs are coming soon to worn-out North Bend road

Eastbound drivers swerve left to clear a rutted section of roadway on North Bend’s Boalch Avenue. The worn-out street, which serves a number of businesses including a preschool, church, golf course, sheriff’s station and several fitness groups, is finally slated for sweeping repairs.  - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Eastbound drivers swerve left to clear a rutted section of roadway on North Bend’s Boalch Avenue. The worn-out street, which serves a number of businesses including a preschool, church, golf course, sheriff’s station and several fitness groups, is finally slated for sweeping repairs.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Few city projects could get this kind of reaction: “That will be awesome! I’m so excited!”

In North Bend, though, at least one did, from Angela Premoe, administrator at the North Bend Calvary Chapel on Boalch Avenue.

What made her react this way was learning that the city of North Bend had on Aug. 7 awarded Lakeridge Paving in Covington the contract to reconstruct Boalch Avenue, for the low bid of $413,579.

"Wow!" said Premoe, "$400,000 for our little road?"

The half-mile of Boalch Avenue from Northwest 14th Street to the city limits is the scope of this project. It seems small, but "It will make a huge improvement," said Jerry Moen, owner of the nearby Alpine Coachworks. A North Bend resident for 28 years, Moen was waiting for the city to make the same improvements that Snoqualmie did to their half of the road several years ago.

"The other half is garbage," he said. "If you watch vehicles driving down the road, they're driving on the wrong side...trying to avoid the bumps."

That wrong-way tactic has been used by many drivers, and is a safety concern, especially at the chapel, where there are many evening activities, especially in the summer.

"When school starts, we have activities almost every day," said Premoe.

As a staff member driving the road every day, Premoe also worries about the damage to her car. Driving on Boalch, she says, is like driving on a dirt road.

"It seems like no matter how slow you crawl, you feel like you're going too fast."

Starting next month, anyone trying to reach the chapel, the sheriff's substation, Encompass, Mount Si Sports + Fitness or any of the other organizations located on Boalch, the drive will be even slower as work begins on the road reconstruction.

Lakeridge's contract includes reconstructing the entire roadway, along with erosion control, and installation of storm sewer and culverts. Project Manager Donny Miller estimated they would begin work after Labor Day, and expected to be complete in mid-October. He did not anticipate any difficulties or delays from weather.

The project, listed as the city's top priority in its six-year transportation improvement plan, will be the first funded by Transportation Benefit District funds. It will also be the biggest road project the city has done in years, said Public Works Director Ron Garrow.

"We've come a long way," he told the council.

North Bend authorized a $1.4 million bond in June for the Boalch reconstruction and Pickett Avenue between Northeast Sixth Street to Northeast Twelfth Street. The city-authorized bond will be paid with revenue from the Transportation Benefit District's sales tax of 0.2 percent, which more than 60 percent of North Bend voters approved in November 2011. The city and the TBD are governed by the same people, North Bend City Councilmen, but as two different agencies.

The new sales tax, which brought North Bend's rate to 8.8 percent, was implemented in April, and the TBD began receiving its monthly revenues from it in June. In future years, the TBD expects to earn about $400,000 from the sales tax, but earnings will be less for 2012 since the tax was not in place for the full year. Through July, the TBD has collected just over $60,000 from the tax.

 

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