Work on the new Arboretum Loop Trail has been proceeding apace. Seattle Parks and Recreation’s project manager for the trail, Garrett Farrell, just sent us the following update.
“The general contractor, Ohno Construction, is making great progress! As of August 1, they’ve completed rough grading of the trail from E. Madison Street/31st Avenue E. to the Stone Cottage at the south end of Arboretum Drive, and from the Gateway to Chile garden north to where the new trail intersects with Azalea Way. They’ve installed pilings to support three new bridges—at the Stone Cottage, Birch Parking Lot, and near the Boyer Avenue/Lake Washington Boulevard intersection. The crews are preparing to pour concrete foundations for the new bridges at all three locations. Once that work is complete, pre-fabricated concrete bridge sections will be trucked to the site and craned into place.
“Excavation of Arboretum Creek near the Boyer Avenue intersection is underway, and the main stream has been bypassed around the work area to keep crews as dry as possible. The opening up of the creek, and the excavation of ponds and a new stream channel, will temporarily cut off pedestrian access across Lake Washington Boulevard and the creek at the Birch Parking Lot.
“Pedestrians wishing to travel between the Japanese Garden and Azalea Way are being rerouted to either the south end of Arboretum Drive or the Wilcox Bridge. It will take several months before we have a safe passage back across the creek on the new bridges.
“As part of the creek work near the Birch Lot, we’ve exposed a large section of wooden pipe. This pipe currently holds the creek as it runs through the root system of a large river birch, which we want to preserve. Our plan is to bypass the creek around the pipe, shorten the pipe without impacting the tree roots, plug up the pipe, and then re-route the creek around the birch, closer to Lake Washington Boulevard.
“The work is going quickly. If Mother Nature is kind to us—and the good weather holds—we will see more good progress in the coming months. If we continue at this pace, we hope to have sections of the trail usable by the end of the year.”
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