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Construction projects update

A guide for navigating College Avenue and beyond

Front campus landscaping improvements are underway along with road construction on College Avenue.

Front campus landscaping improvements are underway along with road construction on College Avenue.

New front campus paver walkway in process.

New front campus paver walkway in process.

Pavers and colored concrete will be used at various locations throughout campus.

Pavers and colored concrete will be used at various locations throughout campus.

College Avenue has nothing to hide—it is getting some work done. With a lift here and some contouring there, it will soon be better than new. Admittedly the process is a little painful, but the results will be fabulous.

Here’s the lowdown on how to navigate through and around College Avenue during the upcoming weeks and, yes, months.

College Avenue/Rose Street (CARS) construction project

North College Avenue from Whitman Drive to Blalock Drive
Through Aug. 17 utility companies will be working to complete electrical, sewer, and water lines. After utility work is complete, road work will begin again as crews implement the final steps of preparing the road subgrade, adding rock, and adding curbs and gutters before paving begins. Crews are working toward completing paving on this section of College Avenue by the end of October. 

South College Avenue from Whitman Drive to 4th Street
Work on storm drains and water lines is currently underway and should be complete by Aug. 14. Following this process, electrical work will begin with a completion date of Sept. 14. After this utility work is complete, road work will begin again as crews implement the final steps of preparing the road subgrade, adding rock, and adding curbs and gutters before paving begins. Weather permitting, the goal is to complete this section of College Avenue by the end of November. If the weather does not allow for final paving this fall, a driveable layer will be in place until final paving can occur in the spring of 2016.

Intersection of College Avenue and 4th Street
The intersection of College Avenue and 4th Street will be closed for some period of time between Aug. 3 and Aug. 21 as crews bury utility lines. The intersection will be closed again for gas line installation at a date to be determined later this summer. The results of this work will be no above-ground power lines along College Avenue from Whitman Drive to the College Place Post Office. During these two closures, the front entrance to the Express/Shell station will be closed, however the back entrance that is accessible from 4th Street will remain open throughout construction.

South College Avenue from 8th Street to 12th Street
From Aug. 10 to mid-September, College Avenue will be closed from 8th Street to 12th Street for work at 10th Street where Garrison Creek crosses under College Avenue. This section of College Avenue will be closed again in November and December.

Safety first, donuts second

Scout Lake Construction out of Selah, Washington, is implementing the CARS project. “Scout Lake has been coordinating and working with the university on our part of the project and they have been great to work with,” said George Bennett, WWU executive director of physical plant operations. “They will also be working with us to install underground power lines along College Avenue from north of Whitman Drive to the College Place Post Office. The collaboration with Scout Lake has been great.”

Bart Schorer, Scout Lake project manager, explained that while Scout Lake is on schedule with the road construction, some misunderstandings have occurred about timing of the project completion. “When the job was first awarded we had to do a website per contract and the original schedule was published. That original schedule did not take into account the utility work,” said Schorer. The schedule outlined above does account for all utility work and represents Scout Lake’s best estimates for completion dates.

There is no through access on Whitman Drive, and College Place police are on alert to watch for people driving through the construction zone. In addition, there is a $600 fine for moving orange traffic cones.

The Scout Lake crew is implementing a safety plan that will include orange fencing to mark pedestrian traffic routes. They will also set up temporary gravel sidewalks as the weather changes to avoid muddy traverses across College Avenue.

All of your favorite businesses along College Avenue are open during construction, so don’t hesitate to take a walking tour of the construction process starting with a maple bar at Rogers Bakery, working your way to The Express for a Yogi, on down to Black Cup for a latte, and finishing off at Andy’s Market with some blueberries.

Ash Street construction project

An additional road construction project, but separate from the CARS project, is also underway on Ash Street from Whitman Drive to 4th Street in front of Davis School and behind the WWU women’s residence halls. Humbert Asphalt and Rock Products Inc. is installing new gutters, curbs, and sidewalks. This project is scheduled to be completed by late August.

Front campus landscaping projects

A variety of landscaping projects are also currently underway on the WWU campus on the east and west sides of College Avenue. “In addition to the public right-of-way upgrades provided for by the CARS project, the university is working to provide better function and to further enhance the appearance and accessibility of the campus along College Avenue,” said Bennett.

These improvements include new paver walkways, lighting, terraces, plantings, and other landscaping features, as well as improvements to the visibility of crosswalks across College Avenue. “If all goes as planned the main concrete crosswalks will be finished before the roads are finished in the fall,” said Bennett.

Bennett is available to answer questions. He can be reached by calling (509) 527-2092 or by sending email to george.bennett@wallawalla.edu.

The City of College Place is holding frequent information meetings about the CARS project at City Hall. Visit the City of College Place website at www.ci.college-place.wa.us for the date and time of the next scheduled meeting.

Posted Aug. 3, 2015

Last update on October 1, 2018