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Renton: Shattuck Ave. S underpass to reopen early this year

A 737 fuselage rumbles over a closed Shattuck Avenue recently on its way to Boeing’s 737 production plant in north Renton. The road is closed at the railroad bridge in order to install a stormwater control pipeline. - Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter
A 737 fuselage rumbles over a closed Shattuck Avenue recently on its way to Boeing’s 737 production plant in north Renton. The road is closed at the railroad bridge in order to install a stormwater control pipeline.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

Work is well under way on completing a roughly $2 million stormwater project that will allow the reopening of Shattuck Avenue South.

The City of Renton anticipates reopening Shattuck near South Fourth Place to traffic sometime early this year, but an exact date is weather dependent. The contract for the project ends in February.

The city needs good weather to repave the roadway.

However, the city could reopen the road sooner before the final asphalt overlay is laid if there’s a “big delay” between when the project is done and when the paving would happen, said Bob Hanson, the design engineering supervisor in the City of Renton’s Transportation Division.

Shattuck is an alternative route to Rainier Avenue and provides access to local businesses and residences.

Shattuck was closed in 2007 as part of multimillion-dollar projects to replace four railroad bridges in downtown Renton so that Boeing could ship 737 fuselages from the south on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks to its Renton plant.

The bridges were completed in early 2008, but Shattuck remained closed at its railroad bridge so that the city could lay a new pipeline to carry stormwater away from about 75 acres of land near Rainier from roughly McLendon Hardware eastward.

The project is about a year behind its original completion date, mostly because it took more time than expected to come up with a final design for two “sacrificial beams” that will protect the bridge.

Burlington Northern had the final design approval for the beams, which are critical to protecting the bridge from overheight vehicles, such as semi-trucks.

The Shattuck bridge has an 8-foot clearance. The clearance under the Rainier Avenue bridge is about twice that.

The beams cost about $100,000. The steel beams and a warning system are being fabricated in a shop.

The speed limit will be set at 5 mph under the bridge when it reopens. For decades the wooden Shattuck bridge could only accommodate one vehicle at a time.

The most obvious work in recent weeks has been the laying of the stormwater pipes. The work is expected to be done by month’s end and on schedule based on the current timetable.

The bulk of the Shattuck cost is for construction. The city will use $2 million in federal stimulus money for those costs. Revenue for other costs, such as design, will come from other sources.

The city provided signage to help customers get to the businesses that front on the closed portion of Shattuck, Hanson said.

“The folks out there have been very cooperative,” he said.

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