Locals saw the start of two capital improvement projects on April 29 as city workers began renovating 3,050 feet of stormwater infrastructure and creating a dedicated lane for buses and bicycles.
The projects, located around Market Street, will periodically close sections of the road and eliminate 250 feet of street parking along the southbound side. City contractors will renovate the degraded stormwater pipes, using a trench-less method called cured-in-place pipe, and create a queue jump lane for buses and bicycles.
“This project will use the existing pavement width more efficiently by keeping all of the existing vehicle travel lanes and adding a southbound combined transit queue jump lane and bike lane,” said Kellie Stickney, spokesperson for the city of Kirkland. “This should save time for people using the bus to get where they need to go and also make it less frustrating for drivers. The new bike box will enhance the safety of one of Kirkland’s most important north-to-south bicycling routes.”
Once completed, the queue jump lane will allow southbound buses to travel up to the bus stop at 98th Avenue Northeast and Forbes Creek Drive. Essentially, buses will be able to pick up travelers more quickly and without temporarily stopping southbound traffic.
The new queue jump lane will be available for vehicles turning right into the Juanita Bay Park parking lot. The project also creates a turn queue bike box at the Forbes Creek Drive intersection for southbound bikers to more easily turn left onto the drive. The city aims to reduce turn conflicts between cyclists and drivers.
“We’ve heard praise for the city’s investment in improving transit service and bike safety, as well as concerns that the bus queue might increase congestion at 98th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 116th Street by Juanita Drive,” Stickney said. “Drivers are currently experiencing increased delays, but we believe that these are likely construction related, and that they should diminish once construction is complete.”
This project will see construction times of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The stormwater pipe renovations aim to repair pipes that have been cracked by root intrusion, according to Stickney. Crews will close sections of Market Street from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Construction will only block the northbound lane and King County Metro will reroute the 234 and 255 bus routes to Third Street during construction hours. Market Street traffic will resume as normal during weekends.
Additionally, the closures will pick up in mid-May when workers begin double shifts of 7-3 p.m. for a work week to monitor the curing process. The city aims to complete this work by June.