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Kitsap Mall: Road work won't have adverse effects on access

Dan Engelhard, senior manager for the Kitsap Mall, said construction of retaining walls preceded the widening of Randall Way and has not posed a problem for merchants and customers.

“There doesn’t appear to be an effect,” he said. The Mall has posted signs apprising customers of what to expect as they come to the Mall. There is still ample parking around J.C. Penney Co., near where most of the work is being done.

“So far they’re doing a terrific job,” he said. He looks forward to the finished road as being “slick” and worth any traffic delays. Delays are expected to be minimal, since most of the road work will be done after-hours, he said.

The project, which got under way about a month ago, is expected to cost about $1.9 million. Two new turn lanes will be added to Randall Way where it meets Kitsap Mall Boulevard: one dedicated north to the freeway and the other dedicated south to the rest of the Mall, said Burt Thatcher, construction manager for the county.

“We’ll be moving the sidewalk over (on the south side), and putting in another wall and lane near Applebee’s,” he said.

He said the construction of the wall is fairly unique. After about 143, 30-foot-long, 9,000-pound steel girders are sunk vertically, the whole thing will be laced with rebar (soft steel), then sprayed — not filled — with concrete.

“We actually spray the concrete on now,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

He said skilled artisans will mold the concrete to mimic stone.

It won’t look like a retaining wall.

“The process is called ‘carved shotcrete,’” he said.

This part of the project, including paving over the top, would be completed Nov. 2. Contractors include Harlow Construction of Lacey, Wash.; and TBH, a subcontractor.

Traffic signals will be replaced and there will be storm drain work, including catch basins or tanks to hold rain runoff.

County-ordered improvements to Randall Way and the Mall’s parking lot at the north end of the community reportedly worried Mall officials at first, with back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons on the horizon. But Mall officials said reports of these concerns were exaggerated.

John Brand, assistant director of Kitsap County Public Works, said the county will be working on a weekly basis with the contractor and the Mall. Work in August and September will be an inconvenience, but minimal.

The Macerich Co., based in Santa Monica, Calif., owns and operates the Kitsap Mall and owns 46 malls and four community centers in 20 states. Their properties are home to more than 200 department stores and 5,000 specialty stores. The Macerich Web site said about 500 million people per year shop at their malls and spend more than $9 billion.

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