Tacoma City Council approves contract for Sprague Avenue project

Visitors to a stretch of Sprague Avenue in Tacoma may soon notice roadway and landscape improvements for drivers, cyclists and...

Visitors to a stretch of Sprague Avenue in Tacoma may soon notice roadway and landscape improvements for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Tacoma City Council approved a purchase resolution Tuesday awarding a $548,429.25 contract to Westwater Construction Company to complete the first phase of the South Sprague Avenue Enhancement Project.

The project will provide landscape improvements and enhanced visual buffers from South Sprague Avenue and the adjacent residential street to the east, known as residential Sprague or “Little Sprague,” according to City staff. Just over half an acre of arterial roadway stormwater runoff will be treated with bio-retention rain gardens, and nearly half an acre will be enhanced with landscaping that will improve the City’s tree canopy and reduce rainwater runoff in the Foss watershed. A new median will be constructed in South Sprague Avenue to provide traffic calming for a new neighborhood gateway wing also included in this project.

The project follows roadway and landscape improvements along Sprague Avenue recently completed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) from Highway 16 to the WSDOT right-of-way near South 23rd Street.

The project kicked off last year when the City of Tacoma assisted WSDOT in creating a unified vision for this corridor. Since then, the project team provided presentations to Tacoma’s central neighborhood council during two public meetings last year, and one public meeting in September. Additionally, a neighborhood steering committee was formed for this project to help prioritize the community’s vision for this corridor and provide recommendations.

According to City staff, this area of Sprague Avenue serves as a “gateway” to the City of Tacoma. City officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony next month for the project, which is expected to last 35 working days.

The second phase of the project, which is tentatively schedule to begin next fall, is currently in the preliminary design phase. That phase of the project will include the installation of landscape plantings west side of South Sprague Avenue from South 23rd to 19th Streets, and the installation of pervious pavement, a defined parking lane (east side) and swales to improve drainage (west side) to the residential stretch of Sprague Avenue between South 25th and 19th Streets.

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