City and County in Washington Bring in Partners to Install Fiber During Road Work

While the road is open, the partners will lay down high-speed Internet fiber to serve several possible users.

by Kimberly Cauvel, Skagit Valley Herald / May 30, 2018
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(TNS) — SEDRO-WOOLLEY, WASH. — Construction that is set to begin on Fruitdale Road now will include the installation of pipe for the future fiber optic network the Port of Skagit and Skagit Public Utility District have agreed to build across Skagit County, Wash.

The city of Sedro-Woolley, Port of Skagit and Skagit County each contributed to the cost of the Fruitdale Road project, which will improve access to the historic Northern State Hospital campus they are working to redevelop.

The campus is now called the SWIFT (Sedro-Woolley Innovation for Tomorrow) Center.

As part of the Fruitdale Road project that includes building a roundabout at the campus entrance, repairing a collapsed section of the road northeast of the entrance, and repaving the road and adding sidewalks from the entrance to the intersection with McGarigle Road, the port will pay to also install a SWIFT Center entrance sign and pipe for fiber optic cables.

“We want, collectively, to provide more service providers to access the SWIFT Center site,” Port of Skagit Executive Director Patsy Martin said. “We’re taking title of the SWIFT Center July 1 and having multiple Internet service providers available to ride on the dark fiber backbone ... is great.”

She said current tenants including the Job Corps program, Pacific Northwest Trails Association and state Military Department will benefit from having a fiber network available. The fiber network may also be important for Janicki Bioenergy, a local company that is expected to anchor the redeveloped campus.

The port will reimburse the city for the added fiber optic and sign elements of the project, which are expected to cost about $90,000, according to the agreement between the city and port.

The port will also pay the city 5 percent of the cost of the pipe and sign parts of the project to compensate for the city’s administration of the project. That cost will be about $4,500.

The SWIFT Center sign will be modeled after those at other port properties, including the Skagit Regional Airport and La Conner Marina, according to the agreement.

The installation of pipe for fiber optic cables along Fruitdale Road will be the first such project in Sedro-Woolley.

Sedro-Woolley Public Works Director Mark Freiberger said incorporating the pipe for fiber cables into the project is more efficient than trying to add them later.

Construction equipment will begin to appear this week along Fruitdale Road between McGarigle Road and the SWIFT Center entrance in preparation for the start of construction next week.

Starting June 4, crews will build sidewalks along the road, repair the damaged section of the road and install new sewer lines near the campus, Freiberger said. In late July, work will begin on a roundabout at the campus entrance.

Freiberger said all the Fruitdale Road improvements included in the project are expected to be completed by mid-September.

©2018 The Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.