“Kent Makes A Dent” in Our Crumbling Roads!

Courtesy Of:  The Kent Reporter

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Tons of asphalt, dozens of new expansion joints and a handful of deep sea divers will dominate the 2015 road construction season in the greater Puget Sound area.

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Northwest Region (King, Snohomish, Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties) is getting ready for a year that focuses mostly on preserving portions of aging roadways stretching from Auburn to Mount Vernon, Duvall to Deception Pass.

The highway infrastructure in the Puget Sound region is aging. Many of the highways are 30 to 50-years-old. Asphalt and concrete is cracking, bridge expansion joints are failing and guardrail and concrete barrier needs replacing in many areas.

“Drivers can see and feel the deterioration,” said WSDOT Northwest Region Administrator Lorena Eng. “Our projects are aimed at improving these highways, extending their lifespans and increasing safety for drivers.”

Paving projects

This year’s work includes nine paving projects in Burien, Normandy Park, Auburn, Tukwila, Kent, Mount Vernon and Whidbey Island where highways are experiencing severe cracking, rutting and potholes.

In addition, WSDOT maintenance teams have identified 127 locations on 33 highways throughout the region that need spot pavement preservation work. Over the next two years, maintenance teams will manage $10.7 million to repave small sections, seal cracks on some roadways and patch deteriorating pavement.

“By making strategic repairs, we can extend the pavement life by up to eight years,” said Eng. “But eventually, highways need to be completely repaved and the list gets longer every year.”

In the Northwest Region alone, there is a backlog of 115 lane miles that need to be repaved. The paving planned for this year addresses about half of that.

WSDOT’s quarterly performance report, the “Gray Notebook” (5.1MB), estimates a $1.5 billion pavement preservation shortfall statewide over the next 10 years when expected funding levels cover only 40 percent of actual needs.

Bridge expansion joint replacement

Three I-5 bridges that link Everett and Marysville will undergo major work starting in late summer 2015 when crews begin replacing 41 expansion joints on the Ebey, Steamboat and Union slough bridges.

Fish passage

Contractor crews will replace four culverts under highways in King, Skagit and Whatcom counties. The culverts pose a barrier for fish and threaten to flood roads in some areas. Two of these culverts are subject to a federal court injunction to improve fish passage under state highways in western Washington.

SR 167 HOT lanes extension

Construction recently began on a nine-mile extension of the southbound SR 167 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes to Pierce County to improve congestion, mobility, traffic flow and safety on SR 167.

I-90 Two-way Transit and HOV

Drivers should be prepared for continuing closures of eastbound or westbound I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue for work on the I-90 – Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project, which adds carpool lanes in both directions of the interstate.

Floating bridge cable replacement

Divers will take to the waters of Lake Washington this spring to replace 21 anchor cables on the I-90 floating bridges. They will install more than 12,000 feet of new cable. That’s enough cable to stretch from sea-level to just below the summit of Mount Adams.

Know before you go

Information along with location maps about these projects and dozens more preservation, safety and congestion relief projects are available on the WSDOT website. Drivers will also find tips and resources for commuting during construction work.

http://www.kentreporter.com/news/300699241.html for more information!

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