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May 23, 2013
Bellevue Braids project
General contractor: Guy F. Atkinson Construction
Primary designer: Jacobs Engineering
Guy F. Atkinson Construction improved one of the worst traffic choke points in the state by constructing the Bellevue Braids project and completing it nine months ahead of schedule.
The Braids project improves safety and reduces congestion for northbound traffic on Interstate 405 in downtown Bellevue. Multilevel “braided” ramps eliminated the notorious weave of vehicles entering and exiting the interstate.
The Washington State Department of Transportation awarded the design-build contract to Guy F. Atkinson in 2009. During the project, crews removed and replaced the Northeast 12th Street Bridge, constructed an additional six bridges, built 23 retaining walls, repaired concrete pavement on northbound I-405, and completed environmental stream mitigation at Sturtevant Creek.
Atkinson worked with the city of Bellevue, WSDOT, Overlake Hospital Medical Center and other private businesses to complete at night the bulk of the work that would impact their operations. In addition, Atkinson worked closely with subcontractors to bundle multiple work activities on nights and weekends to help minimize impacts to the public.
One of the more delicate aspects of the project was that Atkinson’s team sometimes worked within 25 feet of hospital buildings, including surgery suites with noise- and vibration-sensitive equipment. Atkinson’s team redesigned the Northeast 10th Street ramp to eliminate the trench and its associated impacts on Overlake. The new design reduced the amount of drilling, minimized vibration, reduced noise impacts, alleviated air-quality concerns, minimized the number of utility relocations, and enhanced traffic circulation on the Overlake campus.
Atkinson also took the novel approach of teaming with GLY Construction. GLY had earned the trust of Overlake Hospital’s board and staff with 72 building projects on Overlake’s campus. Including GLY on the team leveraged established lines of communication for effective coordination with the hospital.
Overlake officials praised Atkinson’s proactive approach, noting that the hospital experienced virtually no issues during the project.
Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman added his own praise: “Atkinson has proven themselves to be an innovative and ethical contractor with a distinct ability to consider and respond to community needs.”