Project a high priority for Winthrop
Thanks to an unexpected grant from the state, Winthrop’s most-pressing street repair project will finally get underway next year.
The Town of Winthrop learned last week that the state Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) has offered a grant of $810,715 through its Small City Arterial Program to fund widening and repaving of a .7-mile stretch of Horizon Flats Road, from its intersection with Twin Lakes Road to the top of the hill. The town has been seeking state support for the repairs for several years.
Design of the project will take place next year with construction likely in 2023, Winthrop Public Works Director Jeff Sarvis said in an interview this week. Sarvis said the late notice of the grant would not leave enough time to adequately design the project so that it could be bid in early 2022.
The degraded Horizon Flats Road pavement has been a concern for several years, particularly as plans proceeded for the new Okanogan County Fire District 6 fire station currently under construction on Horizon Flats Road. Methow Trails also recently moved its headquarters to a site on the road, so an increase of vehicular and other traffic was anticipated.
Total cost of the Horizon Flats project is estimated at $853,385, with the town expected to come up with a 5% match, or about $42,670. Fire District 6 has committed to providing $10,000 toward that match, Sarvis said.
The town also learned that a separate TIB grant of $377,416, through the Small City Sidewalk Program, has been allocated for the extension of sidewalks along Castle Avenue and Corral Street, the continuation of a sidewalk improvement effort that the town launched several years ago. With the town’s match, total cost of that project will be about $397,280. Sarvis said the sidewalk project also will be designed next year with construction expected in 2023.
Since the town has been applying to the state for support of the Horizon Flats project for several years. Sarvis said it was a “total surprise” to learn of the TIB grant when it was announced.
A major goal of the project, Sarvis said, “is to get the water away from the road” — that is, to divert stormwater runoff away from the pavement so it doesn’t cause continued degradation. To that end, the street will be widened from 22 feet to 26 feet, and resurfaced, Sarvis said.
The wider road will be beneficial for not only vehicular traffic but also for pedestrians and bicyclists, Sarvis said.
The state-funded project will connect with an earlier Horizon Flats Road repaving project the town has already completed, Sarvis said.
The Castle Avenue/Corral Street project will add a total of about 2,500 feet of 5-foot-wide sidewalks on those streets, with the Corral Street portion extended to Bluff Street, Sarvis said. The Castle Avenue portion will include a shoulder wide enough to accommodate bicycle traffic, and snow storage in the winter.
Town Planner Rocklynn Culp said “we are absolutely thrilled” with the state grants for the road and sidewalks, which the town has been routinely seeking for years with little indication of when or if the applications might be successful.
The TIB examines the applications with “pretty specific criteria” in mind, Culp said. Sarvis said the TIB reviews the project proposals from towns around the state to develop its own rating system for funding.