West Seattle snow aftermath: Two road questions answered

In our continuing quest to get answers to lingering questions, we asked the Seattle DOT about two things — what’s going to be done about the excess sand on the roads, and what about those raised lane markers that are no longer in place – here are the answers, from Marybeth Turner:

Our night crews are sweeping streets. We have six sweepers out each night. We started sweeping Saturday night in cooperation with Seattle Public Utilities to keep drains unclogged to avoid flooding. We will continue sweeping until we have covered all the streets we sanded. We follow the same priority as responding to snow–major arterial streets first. Also, we are giving priority to requests from Metro Transit and other agencies. It is a slow process–it takes more than one pass to pick up the sand. The sand is recycled–filtered and cleaned–by a private firm–for reuse.

Lane markings, including the raised buttons, took a beating during the storm. We will be addressing these during our annual street marking maintenance program. In general, the marking requires dry pavement. We will give priority to areas where the lack of markings is a particular safety concern.

She says you can report those areas of concern to 684-ROAD or by using the same online form you’d use for pothole reports (choose the “minor paving repairs” option) – find it here. P.S. The mayor’s having another media briefing about storm response, 11 am tomorrow. We couldn’t get to the one called on short notice Christmas Eve, but we’ll be there for this one.

17 Replies to "West Seattle snow aftermath: Two road questions answered"

  • Yg December 30, 2008 (3:21 pm)

    Not storm related… But has anyone noticed how many street-lights are out on the West Seattle Bridge… Looks like 40% to me.

  • Brentut5 December 30, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    Did they give a time-line for the lane re-striping of the West Seattle Bridge? I went over last night and it was a complete “Car Ballet” with no one able to tell where the lanes were. Merging traffic at the 99 onramp was completely scary. Even if they can put on new ‘buttons’ can’t they at least stripe it?

  • Scott B. December 30, 2008 (4:00 pm)

    “The sand is recycled–filtered and cleaned–by a private firm–for reuse.”

    I wonder how much that costs per ton instead of just dumping it then buying more sand.

  • WestSeattlite December 30, 2008 (4:09 pm)

    Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t “annual” mean yearly? According to this quote, we are in for a long winter on the roads. It might be a good idea to get some clarity on this issue.

    “We will be addressing these during our annual street marking maintenance program.”

  • P December 30, 2008 (4:39 pm)

    Yg, I brought that up earlier. I have turned in many many many street pole numbers and have never seen them replace the lights. I think city light has forgot about us in west seattle.

  • vbseattle1 December 30, 2008 (4:41 pm)

    So…does anyone know exactly what the road “turtles” are for anyway? Other than waking someone up if they’re swerving off the road in a deep slumber :-) I’ve heard other cities have them recessed in some way and wondered what the difference is for…thanks!

  • WSB December 30, 2008 (5:22 pm)

    I don’t have the answer but they saved my life in California in 1983 .. ugly stretch of time when I had three jobs and there was one night each week when I literally had no time to sleep … had to drive 25 miles on I-80 between job 3 (a newspaper) and job 1 (a radio station) after that interminable night … and the bumps woke me up one morning, just in time to avoid deadly disaster. So I’m thankful for them! – TR

  • angelescrest December 30, 2008 (5:33 pm)

    This was our experience last night. Took me awhile to figure out what was happening. Seriously dangerous.

  • vbseattle1 December 30, 2008 (5:45 pm)

    Thanks, TR….I’m very glad for them too, on your behalf :-)

  • brizone December 30, 2008 (6:15 pm)

    35th Ave SW is missing a lot of markings, and with the weaving lanes approaching Raymond southbound, the cars are all over the place. Same thing going up the hill South of Morgan.

    Seattle doesn’t have a very practical lane-marking system if this sort of event can wipe them out essentially until late spring when things begin to dry up again…

  • miws December 30, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    Scary, TR!


    I was going to say, this makes me want to kiss a road turtle, for without them, we wouldn’t have WSB! But, considering how dangerous that would be, amidst vehicle traffic, Maybe I’ll just pause a moment as I pass by one and salute!


    Of course, I’d get some mighty weird looks! ;)



  • KT December 30, 2008 (8:27 pm)

    I love this quote ….. “We will continue sweeping until we have covered all the streets we sanded.” I guess that means they should have it cleaned up in one day.

  • Chris M December 30, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    I truly hope lane markings return to the West Seattle Bridge sonner than springtime… it’s a free-for-all out there at the moment.

  • goodgraces December 30, 2008 (10:11 pm)

    Yg: re the overhead lights out on the WS Bridge — noticed the exact same thing last night. I thought it was closer to 50% of the lights were out. It actually seemed like it was by (poor) design. Maybe a budget cut? The bridge seemed REALLY dark.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like things are kinda messed up in terms of city “basics” like lighting and traffic safety devices?!

  • WSB December 30, 2008 (10:39 pm)

    Please everybody call and report both the bridge (with the mechanisms we mentioned above) and its lights (we wrote in May about a City Light rep’s appearance at the Delridge District Council, explaining among other things what to do about burned-out lights:
    the online reporting form is here:

  • sw December 31, 2008 (8:05 am)

    Regarding the history and function of the “turtles,” google “Bott’s Dots” and the answer shall be yours.

  • CMP December 31, 2008 (8:21 am)

    I have a feeling SDOT will never get around to properly sweeping our streets. The Morgan Junction was a dust storm yesterday afternoon and I’ve already gotten a flat tire since the snow melted.

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