Commuters who use the strip of Bridgeport Way between South 19th and South 27th streets will have to add a few minutes to their drives for a few more months.
Crews will be closing lanes and redirecting traffic in the area through the fall so they can construct curbs, gutters, sidewalks, bike lanes and street planters in the area as a way to spruce up University Place’s main street. The new roadway will look similar to other recent improvements along Bridgeport, although there won’t be a median between 19th and 27th streets like there is along the retail hub of the city between the town center and Green Firs.
Utility crews from Tacoma Water will be taking advantage of the road construction as well by replacing water mains in the area at the same time. Doing the work now avoids future road closures in the same area since the water mains in the neighborhood are aging and becoming brittle.
The street improvements total about $2.3 million, with most of it being covered by federal grants. The Tacoma Water work costs the utility another $540,000.
This work comes months after roadway improvements ended on the west side of Bridgeport Way between 67 th Avenue and the city limits between University Place and Lakewood. These improvements included the construction of a bike lane, street lighting, pervious concrete sidewalks, rain gardens, vegetative swales and bio-filtration facilities to clean the storm water runoff that discharges into nearby Leach Creek, which is a spawning ground for both Coho and Chum salmon. The creek runoff work was funded through a $750,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.
That work and the ongoing construction along UP’s strip of Bridgeport Way won’t be the last time commuters along that roadway will see traffic cones, however, since another round of street work is also in the offing.
“After this current phase of Bridgeport, we have one more phase, which is between Chambers Lane and Chambers Creek Road,” the city’s Director of Engineering and Capital Projects Jack Ecklund said. “That work will begin next year, likely in the spring.”