Road-work irony: Traction work on hold because … crew couldn’t get traction

May 22, 2014 at 11:58 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

(WSB photo: Genesee closed on Tuesday, before crew discovered things weren’t working out)
The latest on the road-work saga we’ve been following over the past few days, with the help of neighbors in the work zones: SDOT confirms the work to improve traction on the steep hills of SW Genesee (east of Avalon) and SW Charlestown (west of 46th) is indeed on indefinite hold – because the crews, well, couldn’t get traction. SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner elaborates:

The asphalt grinding work to improve traction is on hold until further notice.

The contractor was able to grind the level portion of Southwest Charlestown Street (45-46th), but encountered difficulty with the equipment as the contractor’s crews moved onto the hill (46-47th). The contractor explains that this type of grinding generally takes place on wide, level highways and the equipment was not built with steep grades in mind. The newer, higher power model machine they tried was unable to climb the hill and grind at the same time, even with support from an auxiliary vehicle. The contractor is looking at alternate machinery and methods to see if there is a way to improve traction on the remaining locations on Southwest Charlestown Street, Southwest Genesee Street, and West Dravus Street.

The problem was not encountered in the first work zone, on Olson at the east end of Roxbury, when crews were there last weekend – as you probably know, it’s not nearly as steep.

17 Comments

  1. Note to contractor : Consult the City of San Francisco or any other city with steep hills and experience with roadwork, to learn about equipment that will work in this type of situation.
    Note to SDOT : Sometimes the best bid isn’t always the best choice.

    Comment by west seattlite — 12:26 pm May 22, 2014 #

  2. snort! thanks for the chuckle, WSB. :)

    Comment by birdgeek — 12:29 pm May 22, 2014 #

  3. This would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly pathetic.

    Comment by AG — 12:40 pm May 22, 2014 #

  4. Next RFP better have this qualifier: Have you already successfully done a project on a slope of this grade? No? Do not award.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 12:41 pm May 22, 2014 #

  5. Spot on West Seattlite, AG and trickycoolj!

    Comment by CMP — 12:47 pm May 22, 2014 #

  6. this is sort of funny, who did the original site visit to prepare a bid?
    I can just hear the crew when they showed up for the first day – “wait, this is on a huge hill?”
    Grinder says – “sorry, me too fat to get up hill, not in my job description.”

    Comment by Kevin — 12:59 pm May 22, 2014 #

  7. Let me guess, their other contract is a tunnel.

    Comment by wga — 1:00 pm May 22, 2014 #

  8. Maybe some leftover deicer needs to be washed off the surface?

    Comment by wade — 2:42 pm May 22, 2014 #

  9. At least the city is trying to improve that hill. It’s the most convenient way for me to get to the junction, but I avoid it because ever since they added the light, it’s not uncommon for three or four cars to be waiting on that hill to start from a dead stop. It’s terrifying to have someone too close on your bumper, just praying that your car only slides back two feet and not four. When it’s wet, it shouldn’t even be considered an option. If the traction work doesn’t do it, they should seriously consider another light at the bottom of the hill that it synced so that traffic can start where it’s flatter and be allowed to clear the hill without braking.

    Comment by Rebecca — 2:49 pm May 22, 2014 #

  10. Is Seattle Tunnel Partners doing this work too with a machine made by the same people who built “Bertha”?

    Comment by KT — 2:52 pm May 22, 2014 #

  11. And I thought my job was in uphill grind!

    Comment by Gotb — 5:28 pm May 22, 2014 #

  12. Here’s an idea… grind going DOWN the hill!!

    Comment by Jason — 7:37 pm May 22, 2014 #

  13. Maybe they can cut out squares and then re-do them. It was so effective on the WS bridge… ;)

    Comment by heather — 8:53 pm May 22, 2014 #

  14. This morning about 8:40 there was an accident on on Olson at the east end of Roxbury (where crews were last weekend). Traction doesn’t prevent accidents, alert driver’s prevent accidents. Pay attention all you drivers!

    Comment by AH neighbor — 9:21 pm May 22, 2014 #

  15. ooo…. Dravus, ya, that’ll not be fun for them. Steeper than Charlestown St. and a lot longer.

    Comment by Mike — 11:10 pm May 22, 2014 #

  16. Maybe they can grind down the jump on the east end of Genesee by 26th right after you drop down the little hill.

    Comment by Mitch — 2:15 am May 23, 2014 #

  17. “The contractor explains that this type of grinding generally takes place on wide, level highways and the equipment was not built with steep grades in mind.” Whomever awarded this contract, in someway did not take into consideration necessary critical information, oops!

    Comment by au — 8:43 pm May 23, 2014 #

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