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City of Kirkland awards contract for interim trail construction

City of Kirkland - Contributed Art
City of Kirkland
— image credit: Contributed Art

The Kirkland City Council has approved a $2 million contract with Rodarte Construction, Inc. for construction of the Cross-Kirkland Corridor Interim Trail.

The council voted at their June 3 meeting to extend the contract to the Auburn-based company. It is slated to start around July and be completed before or at the beginning of December.

A total of five bids were made during the three-week bid period. The second lowest bid was approximately $2.4 million made by Road Construction Northwest. A city engineer estimates the cost for the trail construction to be $2.2 million.

According to city documents, the total budget for the rail removal and interim trail is $4.1 million. Funding for the trail includes $1.9 million from the state, $1 million from the federal government and $1.1 million from the city budget as well as revenue from selling the salvaged rails.

The city vote came after a potential dispute with Sound Transit was resolved concerning certain sections of the trail. In April, Sound Transit claimed that sections of the interim trail were located within a Sound Transit Planned Easement Area, which predated the city's purchase of the trail. Under the easement, Sound Transit is able to stipulate conditions of major improvements. An executive at Sound Transit wrote in two letters that if built the trail would make it unreasonable for them to build high capacity transportation facilities (HCT) in that area and that the trail would have to be relocated off bridges and underpasses to accommodate the HCTs if and when they were constructed. The city in turn raised concerns that the letters implied a financial risk if the city proceeded with trail construction only to be forced later to move it at a considerable cost.

City Manager Kurt Triplett stated in an interview that the issue was eventually resolved after the city explained that it was merely covering an existing rail bed with gravel and not making any major improvements or changes to the trail. He also received reassurance from Sound Transit that it did not intent to create a financial liability for the city.

The Cross-Kirkland Corridor Trail is designed to run from the South Kirkland Park and Ride north to the Totem Lake Business District on the old railroad tracks the city purchased from the Port of Seattle for $5 million. In 2013, the city began removing and salvaging the rails. The work was finished in October. The interim trail will have a gravel surface placed within the existing rail bed and will extend from 108th Avenue Northeast to 132nd Avenue Northeast, nearly six miles. As part of the interim trail construction, rails at nine existing street crossing locations will be removed and the section repaved.

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