Road work for Phase 1 of the $17.6-million Northeast Novelty Hill Road project will begin Monday, King County announced earlier today.
Initial work will include equipment staging and vegetation clearing. Through June, most of the road work will take place at the Evans Creek Bridge on Northeast Union Hill Road and on the extension of 196th Avenue Northeast between Northeast 95th Street and Northeast Novelty Hill Road.
The county is warning drivers to expect some full road closures along with intermittent single-lane closures. The work is part of a two-year series of road construction projects intended to ease traffic congestion in the Novelty Hill Road area.
(Phase 1) will encompass several roadway enhancements, including a new connection between Novelty Hill Road and 196th/195th Avenue Northeast, two roundabouts on 196th Avenue Northeast at Novelty Hill and Union Hill roads, a widening of Union Hill Road to four lanes from 196th Avenue Northeast west to the Redmond city limits, and a widening of Evans Creek Bridge to four lanes.
Crews will also install shoulders or sidewalks with bicycle lanes along all roads in the project area and rebuild 196th Avenue Northeast from Northeast 95th Street to Northeast Union Hill Road.
Linda Thielke, a spokesperson for the King County Road Services Division, said the project is being done to fulfill development requirements in the area. Average daily traffic volumes on that stretch of Novelty Hill Road have nearly doubled, increasing from 13,612 in 1999 to 25,618 in 2009, Thielke said.
“In some places, (the road is) pretty narrow, and there are not very good shoulders," she said. "So it’s a safety issue, (and) it’s a volume issue.”
Thielke said crews are trying to schedule lane closures in off-peak hours so as to minimize backups. Even so, she warned the delays could be significant.
“It’s going to be a pretty big impact for people who use that road — it’s a busy road,” she said.
Some alternatives for drivers, depending on their origin and destination, are state Route 202 and Union Hill Road, Thielke said. Construction is expected to last for two years, she said.
King County is asking drivers who travel through the area to sign up for electronic construction updates by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/noveltyhillroad and following the link at the top right to “traffic impacts/detours."