East Wenatchee is moving forward on a project to make improvements to 5th Street Northeast near two schools. 

About $6.8 million is coming from the federally funded Safe Routes to School program to provide safe walking paths for kids between schools and residential areas. 

East Wenatchee Public Works Manager Garren Melton says it'll be beneficial for access to Sterling Intermediate and Kenroy Elementary Schools.  

"Improving 5th Street, slowing cars down, making parents that live around Kenroy and Sterling comfortable to walk and bike to school, that's really the whole purpose of the program," said Melton. 

The City Council signed off Tuesday on a contract with an East Wenatchee construction company to start work on the project this summer. 

Preliminary design work started in 2020.  Melton says the project is finally happening after delays from COVID-19 and cost hikes.  

“I’m really excited to see this go into construction,” Melton said. “It’s had a few hurdles, but we’re finally coming up on the finish line.” 

The city received two federal grants to construct sidewalks, install streetlights, make improvements to pedestrian crossings, and add traffic calming features on 5th Street NE. 

The Sterling Intermediate School project received $3,233,249 to improve 5th Street NE between N Georgia Ave and N James. 

The Kenroy Elementary project received $3,560,363 in federal funds for improvements on 5th Street NE between N Jonathan Ave and N Kentucky Ave. 

The city advertised the project and conducted a public bid opening on May 3rd. Five bids came in ranging from $6,723,723.00 to $ 7,286,625.80. 

Active Construction Inc. of East Wenatchee offered the lowest bid and was awarded the contract. The bid was 5.2% below the engineers estimate of $7,072,016.37. 

The city says the area of 5th Street being improved tends to be very busy, particularly at the beginning and end of the school day as there are four schools in the area, including Eastmont Junior and Senior high schools.  

There's currently no sidewalks, which forces student pedestrians to walk in the roadway and limits ADA accessibility.  

The city also says the lack of roadway lighting endangers pedestrians, particularly during winter months.  

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