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Ruston Way opening soon?

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on May 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm with No Comments »
May 23, 2012 10:56 pm

They held the grand reopening ceremony more than a month ago, but Ruston Way through the Point Ruston development remains locked behind chain link fences.

So when will it reopen to traffic?

“We expect it will be open well before July 4,” said Loren Cohen, legal affairs manager for the billion-dollar mixed use project.

Contractors are waiting for another sustained period of dry sunny weather to finish two critical parts of the project that can’t be done in the rain. Those projects are pouring the decorative concrete pedestrian crosswalks and striping and painting the pavement for traffic safety.

A third task, installing the new streetlights, remains to be done before the job is 100 percent finished, but the city has given its permission to open the arterial without those in place.

Those light standards are scheduled to arrive June 15, said Cohen.

With a little cooperation from Mother Nature, the street, which connects Ruston with the Tacoma Commencement Bay waterfront, could be open in early to mid-June.

Until then, vehicles will still have to follow the detour under the BNSF tracks and up the hill overlooking the bay to reach Ruston.

The old route through the Ruston Tunnel has been permanently blocked. The tunnel will be filled with soil from the former smelter site at Point Ruston.

The $5 million street project will provide key access to the mixed-use development. That development bloomed more slowly than its developers had planned because of the economic downturn in 2008 and the slow recovery of the housing market.

A partially built condominium project that was halted shortly after the recession began is now under construction again. It will be developed as apartments rather than condominiums as originally planned.

Meanwhile, commercial commitments continue to accumulate. The Point Ruston project, built on the site of a former Asarco copper smelter, has already signed an hotel and a multiplex movie theater for the commercial part of the project. Other tenants reportedly are close to signing leases.

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