There's excitement among East Wenatchee Public Works personnel about $1 million in funding coming from the state to jump start a major road project. 

The North Kentucky Avenue Corridor Improvements project has been on the books for years without any monetary support at the state or federal level.  

Public Works manager Gerron Melton says the money will be essential in making long-needed upgrades to the corridor. 

"There's a lot of benefits to the project," said Melton. "There's safety, the multi modal aspect. The road is not in great condition. We saw last winter, we had a few sections that needed, kind of, emergency repairs by our crews in the winter. So, this is going to address all of those issues." 

The roadway also has no substantial shoulders or sidewalks, which means kids walking to and from nearby Kenroy Elementary School, or Sterling Intermediate and Eastmont High schools end up walking in lanes of traffic. 

The money, which is coming from the State Public Works Board, is meant to accelerate pre-construction projects. 

It'll be used to pay for design work and right of way for land the city may need to purchase ahead of actual construction work on N. Kentucky Avenue. 

Melton says it'll be a major step in convincing other state agencies to lend financial support for the project. 

"It's just such a big project that trying to get the whole thing funded at once was proving kind of challenging," Melton said. "By getting the design and right of way money brought in, it shows that the city is committed to it. We have identified this as a big need for the community. It should ultimately lead to getting construction funding from some of the other grant agencies." 

Melton estimated the cost of the entire North Kentucky Avenue Corridor Improvements project at $9 million in 2021 and believes the cost could have ballooned to $10 million as of 2023. 

The project is divided into two parts. The first phase from Grant Road up to 5th Street NE will cost between $4-5 million. The second phase will make improvements from 5th Street NE to 10th Street NE. 

Once the project gets funding, the city can work to cut costs through a partnership with the Douglas County Sewer District.  

Melton says the sewer district will need to expand its line to accommodate more homes coming to the corridor area, which will require digging up and repaving portions of the roadway. 

He says the repaving portion can be coordinated and included in the general corridor improvement undertaking.  

The State Public Works Board has approved $4.37 million for pre-construction projects in eight Washington communities. The East Wenatchee project is getting almost a quarter of that total. 

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