The no-parking signs along sections of north and central Delridge Way SW are a reminder that work starts tomorrow for the big project that will lead up to next year’s conversion of Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line. The work includes repaving much of Delridge, along with a lot of utility upgrades. First, here’s where work will be done, as SDOT explains it:
Construction for the project is divided into three different zones.’
Zone A – West Seattle Bridge to SW Findlay St
Zone B – SW Findlay St to north of SW Orchard St
Zone C – North of SW Orchard St to White Center
We will work in all three zones at the same time, working from north to south and starting on the west side of Delridge. No-Parking signs will be posted on both sides of the road in each phase of work in order to shift traffic around the work zones.
In some places, SDOT says, Delridge will be reduced to one lane each way during work.
As a followup to the announcement last month that work was about to beging, we spoke with SDOT’s project team for some context beyond what you’ll find in the “online open house,” which includes full details about exactly what’s planned, and where.
They’re working with Jansen, which was also the contractor on the Avalon/35th/Alaska repaving project. The project will start with utility work, water and sewer lines, and drainage, replacing infrastructure that’s either old or isn’t there at all. (When you add the utility work to the road work and stations, this is almost a $100 million project.) That will take up much of this year’s work. The paving will span two seasons, this year and next, and most of the road will be not just repaved, but rebuilt in concrete, between Genesee and SW Orchard – “generational repaving,” SDOT’s Dan Anderson called it, since it will last for decades. Delridge north of Genesee will get several inches of new asphalt; that part of the work was scaled down a bit because light rail is expected to go through the area before decade’s end.
Most of the work will be complete before the H Line launches in September 2021, with some additional work continuing into early 2022. They’ve been talking with businesses, SDOT says, including those who speak languages other than English. They also promised extra notice when access is affected to driveways and side streets.
A few changes have been made because of the West Seattle Bridge closure – Sylvan/Orchard, for example, is getting additional attention, as “more of a cut-through route,” so it’s going to get some re-striping, as well as left-turn pockets east and west. Anderson said SDOT had been receiving “a lot of feedback” that led to a decision to add the left-turn pockets ASAP instead of “in a year.”
Speaking of the West Seattle Bridge closure, the question has been asked, why push ahead with this project in light of that, so we asked Anderson that. “We see transit as a key solution to the issue of bridge closure – RapidRide is the highest level of service we have; we think this will help people in the long term, whatever happens with the bridge, so this area will get the highest-quality transit service. We wouldn’t want to delay any of this work because we see it actually helping people get through. We have to repave Delridge before we launch (RapidRide H Line) – the road is in poor condition. We think now is the time to do this – we know it’s going to be a challenge for folks on Delridge, we’re going to do our best to keep a lane open each way … we think people will be thankful when H Line opens.”
SDOT’s CJ Holt added at that point that the project includes “a significant amount of safety improvements” for pedestrians and bicyclists, and “you can’t keep pushing that off.” He added, “There’s a little bt of everything on this corridor – if you think of everything we can do to improve it, we’re doing it all.”
The actual RapidRide stations will be upgrades from the ones you see elsewhere now – all will have shelters, for example. (Electrical work needs to be done for the station sites, so that’s another round of utility work here.)
If you have questions at any point along the way, the project team wants to hear from you – they apologized that the pandemic kept them from more intensive late-stage outreach such as community meetings, but they have a project hotline at 206-775-8739 and email contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can subscribe to project updates via the website (right side).