Put a Lid on It! SCJ Rehabs Historic Sidewalk Tunnels

sidewalk-tunnel3Adding to the unique charm of Port Townsend’s historic core are century-old tunnel areas under some of the sidewalks. The sidewalk lids were deteriorating and structurally unsound.

Recognizing the potential impact of construction to downtown businesses, the city combined needed tunnel, streetscape and civil infrastructure improvements in a coordinated enhancement project. SCJ Alliance designed and managed this major project. The team investigated, evaluated and rehabilitated the sidewalk tunnel spaces located along Taylor Street and Water Street, a heavily used portion of town.

Photo of removed sidewalk lid in Port Townsend
Port Townsend Lid Removed

SCJ played a key role in working with downtown merchants, from initial design to construction, helping businesses stay vibrant during the project. In true small town spirit, the community rallied to support affected downtown businesses throughout construction in the summer of 2012.

This project received a Bronze Award from ACEC in January 2013, and it was awarded first place in the Main Street Association’s contest in May 2013.

“This is my most rewarding project of my career,” said project manager Scott Sawyer, SCJ’s Transportation Engineering Manager. “I am proud of the work we did to refurbish downtown Port Townsend, while preserving its unique charm and historical significance.”

sidewalk-tunnel1The owner of About Time Clothing, one of the affected merchants, appreciated Scott’s helpful, positive demeanor. During construction they shared, “With all the hassle and inconvenience surrounding the sidewalk construction project, Scott has just been stellar to work with. He’s amiable and good-natured, listens, is available for and responsive to questions and concerns and always gives us a heads up on what’s coming for the week ahead.”

“The many relationships I formed with merchants and staff during the project are friendships I treasure,” Scott said. “I love going back, visiting Port Townsend and checking in with the wonderful people in the community.”

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