First phase of Royle Road improvements set for April completion


The first of three phases to rebuild South Royle Road in Ridgefield now has a completion date, after the city’s head executive provided a public apology for issues the project has experienced.

On Feb. 1, the city announced an estimated completion date of April 22 for work on the central portion of South Royle Road, which is currently underway. The current phase runs from South 19th Street to north of South 15th Street. It features a roundabout at the South 15th Street intersection, a center median or turn lane, bike lanes, sidewalks and street light installation, according to the project website.

Issues with the construction led Ridgefield City Manager Steve Stuart to deliver a message on the city website on Jan. 26. 

“The longstanding plans to complete comprehensive improvements on Royle Road for safe vehicle, pedestrian, and bike travel, have not gone smoothly or quickly,” Stuart stated in the message. “Many of you have been personally impacted by it. It’s not OK.”

The project, initially planned in 2016, will be a comprehensive improvement of the road, “instead of relying on a patchwork of developments with partially widened areas in front of their neighborhood,” a frequently asked questions webpage about the project stated.

The Ridgefield City Council signed agreements with landowners and developers along Royle Road, which required them to pool resources into the single project.

The intensive development along Royle Road since 2016 likely could have completed the road project sooner if the city did it in a piecemeal approach, stated the webpage. 

“(A)t the time, we didn’t envision the development happening so quickly. We’ve learned that this falls right in with the Robert Burns quote ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,’” the webpage stated.

Other issues like the complex environment along the corridor and inflation that outpaced what was collected by developers exacerbated the project’s completion problems, according to the FAQ.

The project didn’t have a clear schedule until recently, the FAQ stated. A large issue was working with 14 different utility providers and their contractors, since part of the project involves dropping overhead lines into a “joint utility trench.”

“Many of them wanted to use their own contractors for the work and some were difficult to even get responses from,” the FAQ stated.

In both the FAQ and Stuart’s message, the city and its manager noted Ridgefield is making an effort to avoid similar issues in the next two phases of the project. One of those missions includes better communication with the public. Stuart posted a link to the project webpage in his message, which can be found online at ridgefield

Stuart noted other project pages for the planned YMCA, Costco and widening of Pioneer Street will come online this month.

The next phase of the project involves the northern section of South Royle Road up to South Third Way, according to the project page. That phase will be completed over the summer and involves extending the utility trench north.

The last phase will feature the southern, winding portion of South Royle Road to its intersection with South Hillhurst Road, according to the project page. A timeline for that phase has yet to be determined.