By Victoria Miller
The I-405 Renton to Bellevue Widening and Express Toll Lanes project team has been busy preparing to start construction during the past few months. Crews will kick-off work with paving 2½ miles of the King County Eastrail, formerly the Eastside Rail Corridor, along Lake Washington between Ripley Lane North in Renton and Coal Creek Parkway Southeast in Bellevue. We expect work to wrap up by the end of this year.
More space and safer crossings coming
The new paved trail will be the widest in the region at 12 feet, with a two-foot gravel shoulder on one side, and six feet of gravel on the other side. That means that people who run, walk, and bike on the trail will have more space from others and a choice of surfaces, currently gravel only on this stretch. Crews will also install lighting at each road crossing to help protect trail-users from car traffic.
Tree removal and replanting along the trail
Widening the trail will require some tree removal. Our landscape specialists will walk the project area to identify which trees to remove and which to keep, with a goal to preserve as many trees as possible, especially the older more established trees. Our contractor then reconfirms the trees flagged for removal before work begins. We will not remove trees at the request of homeowners or others for reasons not associated with the project.
We have a robust tree-replanting policy to expand our native tree canopy while we make investments in our transportation system. We calculate the number of trees to replant based on the diameters of the existing trees' trunks, and replace trees with trunks greater than four inches in diameter with multiple trees, specifically one tree for every inch of diameter. For example, we would replace a tree with an 8-inch diameter with eight one-gallon plantings. For smaller trees, with trunks less than four inches across, we replant one tree for each tree we remove.
What to expect during construction
Starting Monday, June 29, Eastrail users will detour to the parallel Lake Washington Loop Trail between Ripley Lane North and 106th Avenue Southeast (shown in the map below). To create space for the detour, crews will narrow a 300-foot stretch of Ripley Lane North in Renton, between the Virginia Mason Athletic Center and the Lake Washington Loop Trail, to one-lane.
Most work will occur within the trail right of way during daytime shifts from Monday to Saturday each week. Trucks and equipment will enter the trail work zones via Ripley Lane North, 106th Avenue Southeast, and Lake Washington Boulevard Southeast. We plan to start construction between 106th Avenue Southeast and Newcastle Beach Park in the fall. The new trail sections will reopen in stages, with all work completed by 2020 or early 2021.
To ensure the health and safety of our crews and the community, all construction activities will follow Governor Inslee's safety guidelines for work during COVID-19.
For more information on the Eastrail construction, please visit our online open house. To stay up to date on the latest construction closure information for the project, please visit the I-405 Construction Updates webpage and the King County Construction Updates webpage.