By Steve Dunkelberger
The City of University Place has landed a $1 million grant to improve safety along Bridgeport Way. The National Highway System Asset Management grant will go toward pavement preservation and accessibility upgrades along Bridgeport Way between Cirque Drive and 37th Street and include a new asphalt overlay on the street and improvements to all sidewalks and pedestrian ramps to bring them up to the current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The federal grant program was established for the preservation of major roadways classified in the National Highway System. The city’s strip of Bridgeport Way project was one of only 17 projects awarded state-wide under this program. The design work for this project will begin in 2018 and construction is scheduled for late spring 2019. The city applied for the grant more than a year ago, and shows the city has been highly successful in gaining state and federal grants for street improvements to add safety features for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
“They all add up to make for a good project,” Public Works Director Gary Cooper said.
The work comes as the city is spending $300,000 on chip sealing around the city to preserve the roadways as much as possible, although a city of its size would normally need about three times that amount to keep up with residential road repairs.
The city’s newer residents might not remember that U.P. had no sidewalks at all when it became a city 22 years ago, and it now has 35 miles of them that were funded either through the city’s general fund or through grants, rather than local transportation dollars of Local Improvement Districts, all in an effort to make the city safer and more walkable.
“I think that is a pretty good accomplishment,” Cooper said.