Snake Hill Road fix likely to be pricey

May 12, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: May 12, 2:42 p.m.

Snake Hill Road is not about to fall off the side of a hill, but it does need a fix sooner rather than later.
Public Works Director Laura Philpot explained the results of a geotechnical report on the road to the Sammamish City Council May 6.
In April, the city closed the road to bicycles, pedestrians and trucks weighing more than 10 tons, a consequence of large cracks that would appear on the road, sometimes overnight. She said the city has been repairing the road annually because of its continued movement.
Philpot said it appears the road was not properly constructed in the beginning –  crews likely did little more than cut into the side of the hill and slap down some pavement.
The report said the best way to stabilize the road would be to build retaining walls to hold the dirt in place. At the same time, Philpot said, the city should likely install guardrails and widen the road slightly to allow safer access for bicycles and pedestrians.
As for cost estimates, it’s too early to tell, Philpot said. She said she hopes to hire a consultant and use the report as a basis for beginning design work.
City Manager Ben Yazici said he would likely include the road in the city’s budget process for 2015-16. If all goes according to plan, the road would be designed in 2015 and construction would happen in 2016.
The most likely type of walls needed to shore up the road would require closing it during construction, Yazici said.
Yazici noted the Issaquah School District uses the road for buses, so the city would like to coordinate with the district and try to do construction during the summer months when school is out. He stressed that the road, as far as the geotechnical engineer is concerned, is safe for buses.
Philpot said she will likely come to the council in the next couple weeks to request the funds needed to hire a firm for preliminary design work. After that is done, possibly by the early fall, she will have a better idea of the costs.
Yazici cautioned the council to be ready for a big price tag.
“I want the council to know this is not going to be a cheap road project,” he said.

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