East Aberdeen Mobility Project

By Amber Bryan

The Aberdeen City Council met Wednesday, September 9. Kayla Dunlap, Public Affairs Manager for the Port of Grays Harbor, and Vicki Cummings, Executive Director for the Grays Harbor Council of Governments began the meeting by giving a presentation. The presentation focused on the East Aberdeen Mobility Project. The heart of the project is to alleviate traffic congestion and prioritize safe passage along Highway 12 between Fleet Street and the Wishkah River. Traffic frequently backs up on the highway when a train is passing, often blocking vehicles in the parking area for the Olympic Gateway Mall. A big concern with this situation is access to the mall by emergency first responders.

In 2013 the federal Surface Transportation Program granted Grays Harbor Council of Governments funding for the project. Since that time, a number of surveys have been conducted to determine the best options for solving the traffic flow issue. Two open houses took place last year in order to present the project and hear concerns and ideas from the public.

The favored option for achieving the goal of the project is an overpass. Kayla Dunlap provided an artistic rendering of what the overpass, presented with the name Chehalis Street Overpass, could look like once completed. Vicki Cummings was clear that the project will likely take at least seven years to complete once funding has been secured. Both Cummings and Dunlap were optimistic about the overpass, insisting the construction could take place in manageable phases and the completed project would be a benefit to the entire region, including the city of Aberdeen.

In order for the project to proceed Aberdeen would need to take the reigns. The Port of Grays Harbor, the Grays Harbor Council of Governments, and Washington Department of Transportation would still have involvement in the project as planning partners. The presentation was concluded with an appeal for the Aberdeen city council to discuss the plans and determine if they are willing to approve it and forge ahead.

Aberdeen Public Works Committee received approval to advertise for bids to make repairs on storm damage from the intense rain last January. The repairs would involve replacing approximately 200 feet of transmission water line and 200 feet of drain line on 6th Avenue, with an estimated cost of $300,000. Along Baila Way approximately 60 feet of sewer line would be replaced, with an estimated cost of $125,000. It was stated that insurance money may still come through to assist in the funding of the repairs but had not yet been received. Kathy Hoder, Chair of the Public Works Committee, insisted the process to begin the repairs commence with or without insurance money.

The Public Safety Committee submitted a resolution declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Aberdeen. The resolution was accepted. On October 1st the Domestic Violence Center of Grays Harbor will be hosting a Candle Light Vigil at Zelasko Park. Goals for the resolution include providing the community an opportunity to learn more about how to prevent domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived it, and advocate for the assistance of victims of domestic violence.

West End Playfield, which was opened in 1972, was officially renamed Peterson Playfield. New signs will be purchased. Wes Peterson was Aberdeen's first Parks and Recantation Director and he served the city in that capacity for 32 years. Renaming the park is done in his honor.