An 880-foot road extension in Kirkland has earned top honors in the Greenroads Foundation rating certificate – that of Silver Certification – and the title of Greenest Road in the World.
“It feels incredible! We at the City of Kirkland have a strong sustainability ethic and, when we see results such as NE 120th, it makes us want to do more,” said Amy Walen, mayor of Kirkland and CFO of Ford of Kirkland. “At the same time; however, it is part of the City’s overall plan as Kirkland is the first King County city to adopt green codes, which incentivize developers to build projects that are environmentally sustainable.”
The Greenroads program gave the 120th Street extension 46 points out of 118, the most any road has received internationally.
“The City of Kirkland made a commitment right from the start to make this as green as possible and it shows. That’s a testament to Kirkland’s commitment to sustainability,” said Dr. Jeralee Anderson, Executive Director of Greenroads.
The road connects Slater Avenue with NE 124th Street, saving commuters in the gas they would use going around either on 124th Avenue or around via Slater Avenue, and was created using eco-friendly practices.
Twenty-percent of the pavement materials were made from recycled content from other roads, had an overall 15.9-percent of the project’s content was recycled and the hardscape areas were reused from materials onsite.
According to Walen, the NE 120th Street’s extension is also home to a storm water vault capable of capturing 50,000 more gallons of storm water than would fill Peter Kirk pool. The intended length of time it will be useable was also a factor.
“One major decision right at the outset was the replacement of 20-year pavement the use of 40-year pavement instead of 20-year pavement decisions,” Jesse Thomsen, Senior Project Manager at Perteet, the design lead on the project. “Designers assume it’s always going to be more expensive, but we worked with the client and looked at the total lifecycle cost and the benefit to the city. In the end, it didn’t cost more to use Greenroads and the city got a longer lasting road.”
Not only will Kirkland drivers and pedestrians save time, but it was also the first new street Kirkland has built in more than 20 years. While the city added 202 lane miles of new roads when nit annexed three neighborhoods in 2011, the 120th Street extension was the first new road.
“Building it required a lot of patience, a lot of determination and a lot of vision. The City first envisioned the road in 1997 and began acquiring property for it a decade ago,” Walen said. “In that time, Kirkland pursued and ultimately earned grants from the Federal Government and the State Transportation Improvement Board to supplement City funding. It involved a lot of people, a lot moving parts and it feels great that all those coordinated efforts paid off so well.”
While the 120th Street extension is a great start to eco-friendly roads in Kirkland, it’s not the last. The city is currently working on Park Lane, which will open later this week, which also uses storm water retention devices, eco-friendly pervious pavement, rain gardens and trees to protect Lake Washington from untreated water runoff, and pedestrian LED lights.
For more information about road construction projects in Kirkland, please visit http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Public_Works.htm.