LAKEWOOD, WA – Last Wednesday, January 20th the City of Lakewood officially broke ground on Pacific Highway Phase IV. The project will run about a mile from Gravelly Lake Drive to Bridgeport Way through an area known as “Ponders.” The roadway will be reduced from five to three lanes to increase parking space and improve the overall attractiveness of the roadway. The project will include new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, planter strips, street lighting, and storm drainage. The project will likely be completed later this summer.
Total project costs including design work will be around $6 million with $4 million of that going toward actual construction. A federal Transportation Enhancement Grant will fund $3 million of costs and the City’s Surface Water Management Fund will pay for overdue storm water improvements.
The groundbreaking was conducted at the City’s interim public works yard. The property was seized by the City after a condemnation action resulting from extensive and persistent illegal activities.
The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce made a strong showing at the event, demonstrating the importance of this area to the business community. City manager Andrew Neiditz recalled the situation just two years ago. Property owners were expecting to pay a collective $3 million assessment until a key grant came through due to the efforts of the City’s public works staff. Neiditz remarked “now these businesses will not have to worry about those costs. Improvements to Pac Highway are necessary for continuing the sharp turn around for what had been a seedy part of Lakewood’s history.” Mayor Doug Richardson also spoke at the event. He thanked Lakeview Light and Power for their willingness to bury power lines underground as part of this project. He also remarked that “it will now be possible for someone to walk from the southern end of Ponders along Pac Highway all the way to south Tacoma with the full benefit of sidewalks. This project will enhance the gateway to Lakewood and sustain our momentum in redeveloping Pac Highway.”