APWA & Washington Main Street honor City of Chelan with awards
For more than a decade the City of Chelan was trying to figure out the best way to address Woodin Avenue Bridge safety issues, with its shifting and crumbling concrete, faulting electrical, and narrow sidewalks. Although structurally sound, renovations were sorely needed for this front door to downtown Chelan.
In partnership with City staff led by Public Works Director Jake Youngren, the Historic Downtown Chelan Association, and others, SCJ designed a project that combined bridge restoration with many efforts. These include safety improvements, pedestrian enhancements, and upgrading utilities to accommodate future needs. Significant upgrades to the adjacent Woodin Avenue Landing Park, which provides access to the downtown from the water, were also wrapped in.
One of twenty-five projects recognized across the state by APWA Washington, the City of Chelan’s Woodin Avenue Bridge Restoration Project, was selected the project of the year in the “Historic Less Than $5 Million” category. According to Award Committee Chair Tina Nelson, “Each project shows amazing coordination, planning, and ingenuity—advancing public works and improving lives throughout the region.”
The Washington State Main Street Program selected the Landing Park for an Excellence on Main Award in the “Outstanding Special Project” category. During the bridge project design phase, the Downtown Association led the momentum to bring the Landing Park back to life.
The design created an inviting space for both locals and visitors alike and increased access to Lake Chelan and the existing PUD dock, including a beautiful ADA ramp. “By incorporating the park into the overall construction project, it saved the smaller project thousands of dollars,” said SCJ Project Manager Dan Ireland.
Built in 1927, the Woodin Avenue Bridge stretches 450 feet over Lake Chelan and serves as a grand entrance to downtown. Over the years, the town outgrew the narrow concrete bridge. With an increasingly busy summer tourist season adding to the strain, there was no longer enough room for all the pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle traffic.
In 2016, after years of searching for a way to address the bridges structural and capacity concerns, the City, Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council, and SCJ Alliance came up with a solution. During construction for the needed structural repairs, reallocate traffic distribution and reduce the bridge to a single lane, making space for high-volume sidewalks to accommodate bicyclists and vehicles. As part of the one-way bridge reconfiguration, changes were also made to the intersections and roadways at both ends of the bridge.
“It’s especially gratifying how the overall project has made the entrance to downtown more inviting,” said Ireland. “Our work included widening 1,900 feet of sidewalks, adding 1,200 feet of new bike lanes, enhancing streetscapes and lighting, and adding the new Woodin Avenue Landing Park for the enjoyment of so many.” To keep residents up to date on progress and closures, SCJ also created and managed a project website and sent out weekly e-blasts.
For the APWA award, in addition to project design, construction and materials factored into the Award Committee’s decision. Contractor Selland Construction timed their work to reduce tourist season impacts and work around the lake’s summer water levels. Over one and a half seasons of construction, Selland employed several strategies for rerouting traffic while maintaining a safe pedestrian route accessible year-round. While logging over 11,000 hours on the site, zero worker or pedestrian injuries were recorded.
The APWA Washington Chapter will recognize the Woodin Avenue Bridge Restoration project at their awards banquet on October 8, 2020.