Collaboration and Coordination Bring Skyview Station to Construction
Skyview Station in Salmon Creek, Washington was an underutilized, light industrial site that sat amidst a fast-growing community. Hurley Development saw an opportunity to turn this piece of property into a retail center to serve the local population. To accomplish this goal, Hurley realized the need and importance of an experienced and sophisticated consultant who could handle the development complexity and myriad permits required. Hurley turned to the Vancouver office of Otak, and the leadership of Tim Leavitt, PE, Regional Director of Civil Design.
Otak’s multi-disciplined team of planners, surveyors, engineers, and landscape architects offer the experience and depth to efficiently solve the site challenges and design a project that was readily approved by the presiding agencies. “We offered our client recent experience with another project adjacent to this site, as well as solid and collaborative working relationships with the numerous agencies having jurisdiction here,” said Leavitt, who also served as the Otak Project Manager for the Skyview Station project.
Projects like Skyview Station, located in unincorporated Clark County, required coordination with multiple jurisdictions.“This was a real team effort. Agency staff were supportive and proactive. The permitting process was quite constructive, from start to finish,” according to Leavitt. The labyrinth of permitting included reviews and approvals by Washington State Department of Transportation, Clark Public Utilities, Clark Regional Wastewater District, Clark County Fire District #6, and Clark County.
Permitting was one complexity. The other challenge was the existing conditions. One access point to the commercial center is from the NE 139th Street overpass, constructed and owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This overpass was constructed on Geofoam, a nontypical foundation system that allows large and heavy structures to be constructed in undesirable soil conditions (e.g., wetlands). Otak’s structural engineers, civil engineers, and the geotechnical engineer-of-record designed an access ramp that ensured the new improvement would not impact the complex overpass foundation system and would be acceptable to WSDOT. Another existing conditions complication was the site elevations, which dropped over 20 feet across the property. To ensure accessibility and flat building pads, Otak’s structural engineering team designed a gabion retaining wall along the eastern property line, with heights ranging from 2-18 feet.
The project received final agency approvals in December 2019. But…it wasn’t quite time to begin construction. In lieu of a new signalized intersection at the main site entry, Clark County Public Works and Transportation requested that Hurley instead consider a roundabout improvement. Hurley agreed, and after the execution of a Development Agreement, Otak was asked to design a roundabout and related site and frontage improvements.
As Leavitt described, “The footprint of a roundabout is larger than a signalized intersection. Our initial challenge was to locate and design a roundabout that did not impact neighboring properties and minimized impact to the Skyview Station site layout. Working closely with Clark County transportation staff, we quickly solved that challenge, and moved forward with the permit documents.”
Although approving of the change in plans, Hurley wanted to minimize the design and permitting timeline for the roundabout improvement. Otak was ready for the challenge of bringing together a complex change under a tight timeframe. With agreement from Clark County, regular update meetings occurred to review the design advancement and address comments, questions, and concerns in real-time. “This public road improvement is extremely important to both the County and Hurley, so the attitude was “all hands on deck”, said Leavitt.
Otak’s in-house development professionals enabled a quick transition to the new design and permitting effort. Design efforts were led by Phil Hymas, PE (roadway), Scott Nettleton, PE (structures), Rose Horton, PE (stormwater), Brad Swearingen, PE (site engineering), and David Haynes, PLA (landscape architecture). All told, 15 Otak professionals dove into this project headfirst and worked together to bring the project to fruition, resulting in what will be a vibrant new commercial center for local residents, as well as an important local improvement to the public roadway system.