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Streetscape -- Most of street work now complete; masons can begin installing stones

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By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Enumclaw's downtown Streetscape project has seen most of the major construction work completed, and drivers are free to again travel the lengths of Cole Street and Griffin Avenue.

But that doesn't mean everything is complete. Still on the work list is everything from minor clean-up tasks to some major work - such as installation of the decorative rock that will separate sidewalks from parking areas.

In fact, it's the rock that has been giving city officials the biggest headaches, and putting things behind schedule. Underneath the plywood strips that have lined downtown streets are channels, two feet wide in some places and just a foot wide in others. The plan has been to use two types of rock - about 2,800 blocks in all - to give a checkerboard appearance.

One rock is Wilkeson sandstone, and it has been quarried, cut and delivered without a problem. Things haven't gone as well with the contrasting stone, however. Originally, plans called for Pennsylvania bluestone, but that was scrapped in favor of locally-produced andesite; the andesite, however, proved unsuitable because it fractured too easily. City staff then hoped to use stone from Lummi Island, but it, too, had fracture problems. That left staff back where they started, calling for the Pennsylvania bluestone.

The stone has been ordered and should be arriving within a few days, according to Les Johnson, director of community development for the city.

Masons could begin installing the stone pieces late this week, or early next week, Johnson said. It's anticipated the rock work will take at least three weeks, perhaps more than a month.

As for the remaining work, light poles and bollards (street-level lights) have been installed, benches are on the way and landscaping will wait until September. Johnson said the downtown streetlights probably won't be turned on until after Labor Day.

As work crews put the finishing touches on the traffic light system, there will be a one-day closure of Cole Street between Myrtle and Initial avenues.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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