Community Government Transportation

Soil sample drilling to slow traffic on 38th Avenue

Posted on October 4th, 2022 By:

Drivers this week could encounter the first ramifications of the two-year 38th Avenue improvement project.

This phase of the 38th Avenue work — 2A — stretches from Hunt Street (near Tacoma Community College’s Gig Harbor campus) to 56th Street (near Patterson’s Farm Stand) and is lined by housing developments. It’s a primary connector for motorists and pedestrians to the westside business district, Goodman Middle School, Harbor Heights Elementary and Kenneth Leo Marvin Veterans Memorial Park.

An artist's rendering of 38th Street after bike lanes and a sidewalk are added.

An artist’s rendering of 38th Avenue after bike lanes and a sidewalk are added.

Bike lanes, sidewalk coming to 38th Avenue

The city plans to add bike lanes on both sides of the street and a sidewalk, planter strip and lighting on the east side. Work crews will repave the road and install new curbs, curb ramps, gutters and lighting.

Currently, residents must walk or ride bicycles on narrow dirt paths along the busy road.

Phase 2A is in the design stage, which should be completed next summer. Construction follows in 2024, said city construction supervisor Jake Nelson.

How 38th Avenue looks now.

How 38th Avenue looks now.

This week, the city’s consultant will be conducting geotechnical drilling from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flaggers will reduce traffic to one lane at times. A special truck will traverse the road, drilling about a dozen holes, including three in the street itself. They’ll each take about an hour, Nelson said.

Soil samples will show whether pervious or impervious pavement will be used, and determine the thickness of gravel and asphalt needed for new the roadway.

Most delays coming in 2024

Most traffic delays won’t occur until 2024, and there are multiple ways around them.

“My recommendation to people would be if they’ve got an alternative route, take it,” Nelson said. “Why sit in traffic if you don’t have to?”

map of westside of gig harbor

38th Avenue is a primary connector between residential areas and the westside business district. Phase 2A work will be between Hunt and 56th streets.

Work crews completed Phase 1B last year. It comprised pouring a sidewalk along 38th Avenue from the Briarwood Lane outlet at the Heronswood/Quail Run housing developments to the schools at the top of the hill. Phase 1A is the middle segment between Briarwood and 56th Street.

Phase 2A leapfrogged 1A “based on how many people walk that section,” Nelson said.