Sinkhole fix in sight

Repair work on the Bethel Avenue sinkhole could begin within a couple of weeks and take about a month to complete, officials say. - File Photo
Repair work on the Bethel Avenue sinkhole could begin within a couple of weeks and take about a month to complete, officials say.
— image credit: File Photo

After several delays, construction to repair the 50-foot sinkhole on Bethel Avenue will begin within two weeks and finish this summer, according to Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver.

“As it often happens, fulfilling bureaucratic requirements will take longer than the actual construction,” Weaver said.

“It took us six months to complete the paperwork for something that will take about a month to complete,” he said. “But everything has now been approved.”

The sinkhole was an after-effect of the Dec. 3 rainstorm that soaked Kitsap County.

The cause was later traced to a non-standard water pipe that ran along Bethel Ave.

Last week, the city learned that all but 13 percent of the project will be subsidized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This means the city will need to pay $56,250 of the $450,000 that it will take to complete the project and pay for all the incidentals.

The remainder will come from FEMA ($337,500) and the state ($56,250).

After completion, the city will be reimbursed these amounts.

City Treasurer Kris Tompkins said the budget amounts may or may not differ from the actual costs.

After a bidding process, the job was awarded to Northern Con-Ag Inc., a Minnesota-based company with local affiliates that has worked for Port Orchard and Kitsap County in the past.

Last Tuesday, the Port Orchard City Council approved an ordinance that approved transfer of $500,000 into the road fund to cover the sinkhole project, as well as fund the planning of a proposed parking garage in downtown Port Orchard.

The second reading of the ordinance will occur at the June 24 meeting, at which point it is expected to be approved.

Port Orchard resident Gil Michael and 2007 City Council candidate Cindy Lucarelli spoke out against the $50,000 allocation, saying that planning for the parking garage should be separated from any discussion of the sinkhole.

Where — and if — the garage is constructed should be the subject of further study.

Weaver said the bundling of the two issues was a technical matter, to avoid the necessity of having to prepare and approve two separate ordinances.

He said the council may decide to not allocate the planning money in the future, but can now do so if they desire.

“This just gives us the option to develop a design in the future,” he said. ”If we do this it will be a public process.”

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