Port of Tacoma Commissioners today approved a $21.8 million contract to build the final piece of the Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation.

This key freight transportation project includes an overpass to carry trucks and other vehicles over busy rail lines in the Tacoma Tideflats area.

The 2,200-foot-long overpass will add three lanes of roadway over four sets of railroad tracks. Truck queues at the current at-grade crossing can last up to 45 minutes behind trains serving the Port’s two main intermodal yards.

The Port has completed three surface streets and relocated utilities to support the overall project. The final piece, the overpass itself, remained unfunded until the Port received $15.4 million in March from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

The $53.2 million project has received funding since 2002 from several local, state and federal sources. The Port expects to pay about $17.9 million of the total.

"This project has been a long time in coming, with a lot of hard work from a lot of people," Commissioner Dick Marzano said. "We could not have done this without the help of our outlying communities, We appreciate their partnership."

The Port received nine bids for the overpass construction, ranging from a high of $27.7 million to a low of $21.8 million, submitted by Scarsella Brothers Inc., of Kent. The low bid was about 10 percent lower than the engineers’ estimate of $24.4 million.

Construction is expected to begin in August or early September.

Economists estimate this project will create about 200 jobs during construction and another 1,500 permanent jobs through efficiency and additional capacity when it’s completed in 2011.

About the Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma is an economic engine for South Puget Sound, with more than 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 jobs across Washington state connected to Port activities. A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is among the largest container ports in North America. The Port is also a major center for bulk, breakbulk and project/heavy-lift cargoes, as well as automobiles and trucks.

Contact: Tara Mattina, Port of Tacoma, (253) 428-8674