Question: “I read every article in the paper concerning the never-ending smelter rehabilitation property,” writes Richard Lowery of Tacoma, “but I never can find anything about when a road around the tunnel will be built.
“All they ever seem to do is move dirt from one pile to another. I would sure like to hear anything that you can find out about this project.”
Answer: The car tunnel will be closed and Ruston Way rerouted as part of the agreement that finishes the cleanup at the old Asarco smelter.
Mike Cohen, the developer who’s converting the site from a waterfront wasteland into a neighborhood called Point Ruston, said engineering design is in progress and negotiations are under way to finance the road project.
He expects work to begin in late spring 2009 and be completed by next fall or winter – just as Point Ruston’s first occupants move in.
The car tunnel will be filled with soils from the cleanup and capped. The adjoining train tunnel will remain open. Ruston Way will be shifted around the tunnel and across the Point Ruston site.
“The realignment of the road outside the tunnel will allow an increased and smoother traffic flow,” Cohen wrote in an e-mail to Traffic Q&A. “The finished product will be a beautiful tree-lined boulevard with wide walkways and bike lanes. Two roundabouts will aid in keeping the vehicles flowing.”
He said a portion of Ruston Way will have to close for three or four months during construction. A detour will take vehicles up North 49th to North Waterview and North Ferdinand. From there, drivers can get to Pearl or Orchard streets, among others.
This article was originally found in The News Tribune.