The East Wenatchee City Council finally found an acceptable bid Tuesday night to give a major facelift to the area around the intersection of 9th Street Northeast and Valley Mall Parkway.

Public Works Manager Garren Melton said the project will also include replacing the intersection's blinking 4-way stop light with a full traffic light.

But the project won't stop there.

"We're doing a little bit more than just the light. The pavement between 9th Street NE and (Sunset Highway/State Route 28) is shot. We're kind of tying the whole area together to make it look a little bit nicer, especially with the Gateway (Park) project that we did a few years ago." Melton said, "It's going to be a really nice transformation for the downtown area."

East Wenatchee staff first identified the intersection as "deficient" all the way back in 2013. After collaborating with the Washington Department of Transportation to evaluate different options for the intersection it was decided that installing a traffic signal would be the most effective route for the project to take.

"We'll be repaving from about 9th Street to the highway, replacing all that pavement. We'll be widening the sidewalk to the north side on 9th Street so it will be more of a multi-use accessible path so that people can connect into the (Apple Capital) Loop Trail more easily," continued Melton.

The City opened its initial bids for the project in early March of this year. However all the bids had to be rejected after it became apparent that the engineer's cost estimate was well under the evolving reality of Washington's economy. The lowest bid received in the first round of bidding was about $650,000 (or 61%) over the estimate.

Staff reviewed cost-cutting measures and looked for additional sources of funding. Although the city had already received $1,232,000 in federal funds for the project, another $600,000 in federal dollars was secured.

With a new estimate and more money, the City again put the project out to bid in late June. Selland Construction was identified as the lowest bidder, coming in about 8% under the engineer's estimate. The City will give Selland $1,829,446 for the work, although after federal dollars and reimbursements East Wenatchee will only pay an estimated $227,682.

The decision to approve the project's contract was not unanimous, however. Council Member John Sterk was the sole opposition vote in the 6-1 approval.

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