CHOKEPOINTS

Seattle delivers on street resurfacing projects after pandemic delay

Dec 7, 2021, 5:02 AM | Updated: 9:59 am
street resurfacing...
(Photo courtesy of SDOT via Flickr)
(Photo courtesy of SDOT via Flickr)

With all eyes on the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way projects, Seattle has quietly been doing all the little, necessary things to keep the city moving.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has been slurry-sealing roads across the city and fixing thousands of potholes. This isn’t the sexy work, but it’s the necessary work.

“Whether you’re taking transit, you’re walking, you’re biking, or you’re rolling on our streets, we’re trying to make them safe for you to travel to wherever you need to go,” SDOT’s Miriam Ali said.

There’s nothing more personal to a neighborhood than whether or not its streets are in good shape. Regularly hitting that giant pothole really gets old.

Every year, the city picks a few neighborhoods to fix up, using its slurry-seal program. Instead of tearing up the pavement and laying down new asphalt, which is really expensive, the city uses a slurry of concrete and crushed rock to fill in the holes and cracks.

“Roads that aren’t efficient need those kind of Band-Aids, which is what the slurry-seal is, to help our streets be better and safer,” Ali said.

The city repaired 200 blocks of roadway this year.

“The pandemic actually limited our capacity in the summer of 2020, so we’re just catching up,” Ali said. “We completed resurfacing work in three neighborhoods this year, which is compared to our typical two areas per year.”

The city is currently putting together the list of neighborhoods to hit in 2022.

Seattle’s pothole rangers have also had a successful year. They have filled in more than 14,000 potholes through November 2021, and 85% of those have been filled within three business days of being reported.

This is a good reminder that the city can only fix the potholes it knows about. You can report potholes any time, and ask to add your neighborhood to the slurry-seal program. Seattle has an app, called “Find It, Fix it,” which you can use to report problems.

“If your streets are not up to par, just let us know so we can come and fix it up,” Ali said.

As for the major projects, a big move for the waterfront project is expected this week. Traffic on Alaskan Way will move onto the new boulevard on the east side of the street between Pioneer Square and Colman Dock, and the construction will move to the west side.

Workers are also back on the West Seattle Bridge, beginning their final repairs. Traffic is expected back on the bridge in the middle of next year.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Seattle delivers on street resurfacing projects after pandemic delay