Wells Ave S and Williams Ave S Conversion Project

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Updated July 9, 2020

Image of a Two Way Traffic Sign

The Wells-Williams Conversion Project improves connectivity and access in downtown Renton to make it a more vibrant and livable area by converting Wells Ave S and Williams Ave S to two-way traffic. Construction is expected to continue into early 2021.

Project History

We are interested in gathering information from businesses and residents that will help us be good neighbors during construction and minimize construction impacts.

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Current Construction

Three week look-ahead schedule (July 13 - July 31)

Click image to open the Current Construction Map as of July 2, 2020

Utility work on S 2nd St and S 3rd St are the first steps to prepare for rebuilding four intersections later this summer. Now through summer, you can expect single-lane closures, parking restrictions near work zones, and pedestrian detours.

  • Typical Work Hours: Weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with occasional noise, dust and vibration.

Utility Work on S 3rd Street: Crews plan to close the traffic lane and street parking on the north side of S 3rd St one block at a time so they can access a safe work area to dig a trench and install the new utilities. The south lane will remain open for traffic, as will street parking spaces on the south side of the street. Overall utility work on S 3rd St is expected to last approximately two months. The construction flyer for additional information.

New Stop Signs on S 3rd Street: The project converted the intersections on S 3rd St at Wells Ave S and Williams Ave S to all-ways stops with stop-signs. These two intersections will operate as all-way stops for the next several months as the project removes and upgrades the signals to support the transition to two-way traffic.

More About the New Stop Signs

Click image to open an enlarged view  Image of the intersection of Wells Ave S and S 3rd St. 

To draw attention to the change, the current signals will stay in place and flash for about a week before crews remove them.

Please pay extra attention as everyone adjusts to the change. As a reminder:

  • People walking have the right-of-way.

  • Yield to the right.

  • When turning left, you can only turn from the left lane. When turning right, you can only turn from the right lane.

Temporary utility impacts: Service interruptions will be minor; utility providers will notify properties in advance of any temporary service disruptions that will impact them. There may be temporary utility service interruptions; utility providers will notify affected properties in advance.

Tree Planting, Removal, and Replacement

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Please allow us to address any misunderstanding regarding the removal and replacement of downtown trees for the Wells-Williams Conversion Project.

During design outreach we showed renderings of the completed street intersections but perhaps could have been clearer about which trees were going to be replaced.

At the four downtown intersections reconstructed as part of this project, we plan to remove 12 trees and plant at least 22 new ones. The design seeks to maximize the number of trees at each intersection while avoiding conflicts with underground utilities, which are harmful to both trees and utilities. Street trees are being removed and replaced for many reasons, including to accommodate new utilities, make sidewalks more accessible, improve visibility at intersections and because the of the tree’s age or health.

Additional information can be found in our tree flyer.

Replacing The Tree in Front of Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes

In response to community input, we temporarily paused removal of the tree on the northeast corner of S 3rd St and Williams Ave S.

We've been asked if it’s feasible to maintain the existing tree near Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes, instead of replacing it. We worked with a certified arborist and project designers to re-examine if the existing tree can be maintained during construction and after the project is complete. Based on the following criteria, we confirmed that it is necessary to remove and replace the tree for several reasons:

  • Urban trees generally have a shorter lifespan and even without construction, the tree would likely be healthy and structurally safe for only around five more years.

  • The tree is unlikely to survive construction. Installing the new stormwater main next to the tree would likely sever nearly half of the tree’s roots, increasing the risk to nearby pedestrians, customers and buildings.

  • S 3rd St is narrow, which makes it impossible to locate the utilities elsewhere. Alternative utility installation methods are not feasible and would likely still jeopardize the health of the tree.

  • Transplanting the tree is not feasible. The success rate for transplanting a tree of this size and age is very low and would be very expensive.

When it is suitable to plant new vegetation, a new tree will be planted, along with others along S 2nd St and S 3rd St.

Additional information can be found in our tree flyer.

Related Downtown Projects

The Downtown Utility Improvement Project includes upgrades to water, sewer and stormwater utilities to address current use and support future development needs in the downtown core.

  • Upgrades are needed now because some underground pipes are past their useful life, in poor condition, lack capacity and/or require costly maintenance

  • Work will occur on S Second St, S Third St, Mill Avenue S, Morris Ave S, Whitworth Ave S, Shattuck Ave S, and at the intersection of Rainier Ave S and SW Sunset Blvd.

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

Your Title VI Civil Rights

The City of Renton hereby gives public notice that it is the City's policy to assure full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. Title VI requires that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, or national origin be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any Federal Aid Highway program or other activity for which the City of Renton receives Federal financial assistance.

Any person who believes they have been aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI has a right to file a formal complaint with the City of Renton. Any such complaint must be in writing and filed with the City of Renton Human Resources within one hundred, eighty (180) days following the date of the alleged discriminatory occurrence. Title VI Discrimination Complaint Forms may be obtained from the City's website (www.rentonwa.gov) or from the Human Resources office at no cost to the complainant by calling (425) 430-7655.

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