West Seattle road work: Detour change for Charlestown closure

April 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

We went over to check on the SW Charlestown (46th-47th SW) hill panel-replacement road work as its second day continued. The city has changed the detour plan:

Eastbound travelers on SW Charlestown will be detoured northbound on 49th Avenue SW to Admiral Way and then east to California Avenue SW. Westbound motorists will be detoured southbound on California Avenue SW to SW Oregon Street then west on Oregon to 55th Avenue SW and then north to SW Charlestown Street.

The concrete-panel replacement on the steep section of Charlestown is scheduled to continue through next Tuesday. Here’s a closer look:

If you missed it in the comment discussion following a previous story, we took a followup question to SDOT, which explained this is a precursor to future work:

There are several damaged concrete panels that we are repairing ahead of contracted concrete grinding work that will take place in May. The grinding will improve traction on the worn panels, which are largely on a steep slope and have areas of exposed aggregate that greatly reduce traction when wet or icy. The grinding is the driving factor here. From a cost and effectiveness standpoint it is best to repair the damaged panels ahead of that process. Here is a photo so readers can see the condition of the panels.


  1. Those detours seem a long way out of the way?

    Comment by Mike — 3:39 pm April 9, 2014 #

  2. It is far, but probably better than the masses flying through uncontrolled intersections.

    Comment by Person — 5:36 pm April 9, 2014 #

  3. My least favorite street of anywhere. It’s like driving off a cliff and surviving.

    Comment by Ray West — 6:04 pm April 9, 2014 #

  4. Would someone from the DOT kindly explain why westbound Charlestown is blocked off at California rather than say 45th or 46th? It’s affecting businesses, their patrons and home owners for no discernable reason.

    Comment by Helga — 8:08 pm April 9, 2014 #

  5. I’m confused why such a massive area is blocked off, there’s 2x the amount of road space blocked off as there is actual road being worked on.

    I drive on this multiple times a week, never have issues. The only people that seem to have issues are 2wd pickups with no weight in the rear right after the first rain when it’s oily. Other than that, in nearly 11 years I’ve never had any issues. Don’t drive on it when it’s icy/snowy and drive down slow.

    Comment by Mike — 8:51 pm April 9, 2014 #

  6. It sure has reduced the volume of cars using Charlestown as an “arterial” to get to 35th. Cars racing through this neighborhood rather than utilizing true arterials is frustrating. Maybe I will start following these folks home someday and race through their streets……..

    Comment by Watertowerjoey — 6:43 am April 10, 2014 #

  7. Anyone have any idea if they are also repairing the sidewalks as that hill can be challenging to walk up and down too.

    Comment by Walker — 9:16 am April 10, 2014 #

  8. We had that discussion in an earlier thread. Just the road at this point.

    Comment by WSB — 9:26 am April 10, 2014 #

  9. The sidewalks are great right now. What do you want, an escalator?

    Comment by Escalator — 6:00 pm April 10, 2014 #

  10. It would be great if they replaced the slippery sidewalks with some small stairs so pedestrians could use this access

    Comment by cj — 6:05 pm April 10, 2014 #

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