Pierce County awards $9 million road contract

Goodfellow Brothers, Inc. of Maple Valley bid just over $9 million to widen and reconstruct 176th Street East between Gem Heights Drive and Canyon Road East on the South Hill — the single largest road construction contract in Pierce County’s history.

Their bid was $6.7 million below the Public Works and Utilities Department’s estimate. Construction begins in September. When completed in 2011, it is expected to serve 26,000 drivers daily.

According to Pierce County officials, the project is unique because the county is able to complete it in one phase rather than a series of smaller projects as is often the case in large scale road improvements. The project will create 60 jobs over the course of 18 months.

The road improvements will include two through lanes in each direction, a center median with U-turns and striped and paved shoulders for bicycle use. Curbs and gutters will also be added, along with sidewalks, street lighting and traffic signals.

The project required securing 145 property rights from 55 different property owners, including land acquisition, easements and permits.

Engineering and property rights cost $4.8 million, bringing the total cost of the project to $13.8 million. Project design costs were funded by the real estate excise tax, supplemented with gas tax dollars. Construction is funded entirely through the real estate excise tax bond recently approved by Pierce County Council.