Major construction began this week on the roadway and sidewalk improvements near Kent’s River Ridge Elementary School.

The project spans the eastern side of Military Road South between South 225th Place and South 229th Place.

This is a joint project between the Kent School District and the City of SeaTac. The several-month project will be making significant safety upgrades to the roadway and will include new bike lanes and the construction of a concrete sidewalk. In addition, there will be improved lighting, new landscaping and stormwater collection improvements. Once completed, this project will provide a safer route to children attending River Ridge Elementary.

“The excellent collaboration between the school district and the City has resulted in a complex project coming to fruition as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of our children as they walk to and from school,” says City of SeaTac Public Works Director William Appleton.

Beginning this week, construction workers will be clearing trees and vegetation along the Military Road South. To limit the impact to school kids, crews will be focusing their work when classes are in session. Children and parents will continue to have access to and from the school and construction crews will escort pedestrians through the work zone if needed. The school district notified families of the start of construction and what to expect. To limit the impact on students and their families, the bulk of the construction will occur when school is out of session.

Drivers should be aware that two-way traffic on Military Road will be maintained throughout the construction of this project, as well as access to residential driveways. However, travel delays through the project corridor should be anticipated during construction and alternative commuting routes are recommended.

This project is being constructed in partnership with Kent School District. The Kent School District is covering design and construction expenditures, whereas the City is responsible for property acquisitions, design review and coordination of utilities during construction. In addition, the City has received $300,000 in grant money from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board to offset right-of-way costs.

“Thank you to the city of SeaTac for partnering with us on this project,” said Faith Sisley, director, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Kent School District. “We are working together to provide a safer walkway for students and families for the upcoming school year.”

The City of SeaTac involvement in the project accelerated the design, review and construction of this project. As a joint City/School District project, the permitting process was handled internally at SeaTac, which accelerated the permitting process to bring the project in quicker than an outside project.

The City has extensive experience with these types of infrastructure projects and was able to work with the designer to accelerate the project schedule over what would have occurred without City participation. In addition, the City assisted with right-of-way utility relocations, engineering review and design and plan assistance and review.

Construction is anticipated to be substantially completed by end of September 2023 with a goal to have a walkable surface for school children in place by the start of the 2023-2024 school year on Aug. 23, 2023. Construction crews will be clearing vegetation and trees from the project limits into late June.

Franchise utilities will follow closely to relocate their infrastructure within the right-of-way. New stormwater infrastructure will be installed next and is estimated to be completed sometime in late July. Crews will then focus on electrical, sidewalks, landscaping, paving, and retaining walls.