Why the 16th SW repaving hasn’t happened yet


Last August, while we were at City Hall to cover another story, an SDOT manager told us the badly needed repaving on 16th SW (photo above) was scheduled within two months. In this past weeks, it’s been pointed out — at the Delridge District Council meeting and in WSB comments — that the paving work has yet to begin. We promised to follow up; here is the explanation we have just received from Marybeth Turner at the city Transportation Department (SDOT):

SDOT was planning to pave the 5400 block of 16th Avenue SW (from Findlay to Brandon, at north end of South Seattle Community College) last summer by adding it to another paving contract that we already had in place. In the end we did not receive approval to add 16th Ave SW to the existing contract, and we were instructed to seek competitive bids for the project.

The 16th Avenue SW project is now out to bid as part of a package that includes Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue paving. We must now wait and see what amount contractors will bid for this work. We expect to know this spring whether or not we have sufficient funds to proceed with 16th Avenue SW paving.

The complication with the paving of 16th SW is that it is not just a simple asphalt overlay, but requires more extensive work. The plan is to install a new storm drain and also street drain inlets. The road will be regraded and widened a bit. The asphalt path on the west side of the street will be improved. And of course the street will be repaved.

Paving funds are in shorter supply because of city budget changes last week in advance of the final vote expected today; as we reported last Thursday, the city is now trying to figure out how much money it will have to get repaving done on Fauntleroy between Edmunds and Alaska. We will keep checking on this one too.

4 Replies to "Why the 16th SW repaving hasn't happened yet"

  • Bogie November 24, 2008 (2:04 pm)

    Please, please, please make this a paving priority, SDOT! It has to be the worst block of pavement in the city and had needed more than just patching for at least 10 years. There is no other arterial leading to that area, but it is worth avoiding when it is raining and there are new potholes opening and pavement chips everywhere. I have called SDOT regarding that section multiple times encouraging them to repave. It would be great to finally see something happen.

  • k November 24, 2008 (2:35 pm)

    I can’t believe this might be put on the back burner. This road is screaming for attention! Of course it needs to be redone and is not a small project. We all know that. I take a circuitous road down other crappy roads to avoid this road, but because other minor roads that I take are not much better, there aren’t any good options. I think that SDOT needs to put added priority to roads in areas of the City that historically have not been constructed well, or maintained well due to lack of funding priortiy. I think clearly this is an example.

  • smoot November 24, 2008 (10:00 pm)

    I’d have to add that most of the roads east of 35th need attention. There are more than a few alignment eating potholes which end up being unavoidable because they’re located diagonally from other alignment eating potholes. Places not too far from the awful 16th SW patch include SW Myrtle, SW Orchard, Dumar Way, and many others within 10 blocks of 16th and Holden. I know that this area is not alone in West Seattle by any means as it pretty much extends to *any* road that was built in the late 60’s to early 80’s, mostly because they were done with crappy site prep.

    The patch on 16th SW is a fine example as it’s on a slight grade. Drainage should have been just fine with a crown on the road, yet there’s no drainage at all, hence water pooling, getting under the poorly laid asphalt, and causing erosion of the substrate. There’s really little excuse for this kind of crappy road. Seattle certainly doesn’t have the plague of “frost heaves” that hit roads back East every winter. However, because West Seattle seems to be treated like a cash cow that feeds the public works of all the other parts of the city (read: north of the Ship Canal), we get to deal with roads that are among the worst in the city.

    I wonder how the paving is up to Hizzoner’s house and if it’s out of sight, out of mind…..

  • HighlandParkster November 24, 2008 (11:14 pm)

    I too am amazed that this stretch of street is being “back burnered.” It’s a serious danger to cars, bikes, buses, and pedestrians. I urge folks to take a drive along this block, but do not exceed 20 MPH or you will lose an axle, a shock absorber, or a tire. You have to experience it first hand to truly understand the absurdity. It’s also been like this and getting worse for at least 5-6 years. Can’t the city at least send the Pothole Patrol over there to take care of a few of the worst canyons before the winter rains and freeze/thaw cycle starts? That road will be gravel with boulders sticking out of it by January 1 (and it’s a bus route!) There are only 2 routes from the North Delridge, WS Bridge, Youngstown Center areas to White Center and Delridge Way is undriveable because there’s always someone going 20 MPH the whole way from the bridge south to White Center with 10-15 cars lined up behind them all bumper to bumper going 20 MPH after a long day at work grinding their teeth. I need to find the discount car lot where they’re selling all these cars without accelerator pedals and rear view mirrors. Must be a big money saver. So many Seattle drivers seem to only have a brake pedal and blinders on. So, it’s a choice to risk damaging your car or going 1/2 to 2/3 the speed limit for 5 miles. I’ve never understood SDOT. They’re funded by automobiles and the fees and taxes their drivers pay yet all of their attention is focused on pedestrians and bicyclists. I’ve lived in Seattle for 15 years, and they still can’t figure out how to time a traffic light or pave a road. Where does all the money go?

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