City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507

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Pioneer Way Improvements

Welcome to the Pioneer Way Improvements project page. We hope to keep you updated and informed as the project progresses on SE Pioneer Way.

View the Before and After Photo Album (PDF)

03/01/2012  Update #35

It’s All Over but the Warranty Work

Strider Construction effectively completed their work on Pioneer Way this week, with crew and equipment last seen heading out of town on Tuesday afternoon. While Strider is very close to reaching what is called “physical completion” of the project, they will be back to wrap up several tasks. For instance, that portion of the irrigation system that was installed after completion of the archaeology work cannot be tested until the lines are charged once the threat of freezing has passed. Likewise, Strider will have an ongoing responsibility to deal with warranty items, such as replacing dead plants, ensuring that the street lights work or putting a final scrub on façade cleaning, among many other features. A number of you have commented that we have been lucky to have Strider as our contractor – we agree. We have heard often from Strider’s crew that the respect goes both ways – they loved working on Pioneer Way and took pride in doing stellar work and being good citizens. It is fair to expect that we will be seeing them again in the future – without their safety vests and hard hats!

Don’t forget that the last of the Tuesday morning coffee hours will occur at 9:00 am on March 6, Angelo’s Caffe.

Thank You!

Barring something unforeseen, this will be last time you will hear from the project staff in this format. No doubt this fact will be a relief to many, but we hope that the briefings and alerts (all 70 of them!) have been somewhat useful in keeping you on top of the latest news. If you get a minute, please feel free to drop us a quick note to let us know how we might do things better during future projects.

It would not be right to sign off without delivering a final “thank you!” to all of you who have lived and breathed construction for the past year. There was certainly no shortage of challenging days and we are grateful for your ongoing patience and tolerance. We wish everyone with a stake in Pioneer Way much success for the future. Finally, while we may have been the people you saw most often on the street, the support that we received from everyone associated with the City has been simply phenomenal. We are honored to work with them and for you every day.

All the best and see you on street,
Rhonda, Joe and Larry

P.S. Check out this link to a Before and After Photo Album for Pioneer Way. (big thanks to Angela Braunstein for assembling the album!)

To learn more about the project, please click on the navigation buttons to the left, the Gallery button above, and the links below:


Check out this link to a news spot that appeared on KVOS television in Bellingham:

AM TUESDAY COFFEE - Last Tuesday Morning Coffee March 6, 2012!
Every Tuesday morning from 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Location: Angelo's Caffe on Pioneer Way 
Have a cup, hear what's on the schedule for that week.

Question of the week 09/16/2011:

Q. Why have the contractors paved the sidewalks right up to the power poles? Aren’t these poles going to be pulled out when the wires come down?

A. Yes, the poles will be pulled out once all the customers on the street are connected to the new underground system. However, in all likelihood, it will be at least several months before everyone is hooked up and it was felt that paving the sidewalk around each pole would be safer and provide a cleaner all-weather surface. Once the time arrives to remove the poles, the concrete will be sawcut on the incised grid lines, the poles will be removed and the square then patched to match the rest of the sidewalk.

Question for August:

Q.  With respect to the ongoing archaeologic work on Pioneer Way, there have been several references to  the presence of "shell middens" or "midden material".  What is a midden?

A.  A midden, often called a kitchen midden, is a mound or deposit that is formed from the accumulation of domenstic refuse, including cooking and eating equipment, food, and garbage.  A shell midden is specifically a refuse mound consisting of discarded shells, offering evidence of early human use of certain mollusks.  These often extensive heaps are the result of many years of exploitation of marine resources as a main or supplementary food source.  Shell middens provide information on diet, harvesting, techniques, subsistence economy, and seasonality.

Question that we get asked a lot:

Q. The lane width in some sections of Phase 1 looks very narrow. Is it adequate to handle all types of vehicles?

A. The short answer is yes – the narrowest street width within the Pioneer Way project is 15 feet. The street has been designed to meet the approved standards for lane width and turning movement. For reference, the standard for a freeway travel lane is 12 feet and most newer streets in Oak Harbor have 10- or 11-foot wide lanes.

As anticipated, Strider Construction will approach the Pioneer Way Reconstruction Project in two overlapping phases as follows:  Phase 1 consists of City Beach Street to Dock Street, starting in early March and continuing to early June; Phase 2 consists of Dock Street to Midway Boulevard, starting in late April and continuing to early September. We will keep the most recent schedule posted in the window of our construction office.


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