West Seattle, Washington
Heads-up from Seattle Public Utilities – another sewer-repair project will affect traffic and pedestrians along a West Seattle arterial. This is described as emergency work:
A contractor for Seattle Public Utilities will begin emergency work to repair a damaged sewer main line in Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska St and SW Edmunds St.
Work is scheduled to begin Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Anticipated hours are Monday – Friday, 7 am to 6 pm. Work is anticipated to take 10 – 14 days. See yellow outline on map for approximate work areas. All work will be completed in the right of way.
During the work you can expect:
• Equipment and work will take place in the center lanes Fauntleroy Way SW and in the southern sidewalk of SW Alaska St near the Fauntleroy Way SW intersection.
• Two-way traffic will be maintained on both sides of the work area in Fauntleroy Way SW and the bike lane will remain open.
• The southern sidewalk of SW Alaska St near the Fauntleroy Way SW intersection to be closed.
• Equipment and materials staged in the right of way.
• Sidewalks and traffic lanes will be re-opened outside of working hours.
• Typical construction noise, dust, and vibrations during working hours.
• Metro service will continue as usual, with stops open. Traffic Flaggers may assist in accessing the bus stops if necessary.
See the official flyer here.
2:20 PM: Thanks to @clarisaface for the tweeted photo/tip. There’s traffic trouble on the uphill side of the 1st Avenue South hill east/northeast of Olson/Myers, because Seattle City Light is still working at the site where one or more trees took out lines and caused that 5,700-customer power outage Friday afternoon. The SCL map shows 74 customers still out, 25 hours later, in that area of southeast West Seattle.
2:42 PM: Also of note, a crash response is blocking multiple northbound lanes on the 1st Avenue South Bridge.
2:19 PM: Second big Seattle City Light power outage this week – this time, 5,700+ customers, some in southeast West Seattle and west South Park. Above is a closeup of the WS areas affected – to see the full outage zone, which stretches into Burien, go to the SCL website map. This started about an hour ago; no word yet on the cause.
3:18 PM: Via Twitter, City Light says this was caused by “a downed tree that came into contact with overhead power lines.” In a comment below, Bill says the culprit tree appears to have been one that fell near the 509 ramp on the Olson/1st/etc. hill.
6:01 PM: Most of the areas in the image above are still out – almost 400 customers – but the rest are back on. Note that commenter Patience points out this is still affecting traffic in the Olson/Myers vicinity at the east end of the Roxbury corridor.
11:52 PM: Just checked the map – 74 customers still out.
7:28 AM: No indication yet what caused this. Note that the outage zone includes parts of Roxbury and 16th SW, both arterials, with signals, so if you travel through an intersection that’s affected, it’s a four-way stop. Also remember that SCL’s restoration estimates are just guesses. (Added: The latest guess has already changed dramatically, from 2 pm to 8:54 am.)
7:51 AM: We have one report that power’s back. The SCL map lags so we won’t get the full picture for a bit.
8:01 AM: Map shows one pocket remains, almost 400 customers in the Greenbridge area. We’ll update later when we find out the cause. (So far, SCL has attributed it to an “underground issue.”)
8:15 AM: Checking the archives – this outage footprint, and cause, is similar to this December outage. We’re following up on that.
6 PM: City Light spokesperson Julie Moore responded: “Today’s outage was due to a switch failure that caused a substation feeder breaker to lock out. It was the same breaker as the Dec. 12 incident, so that’s why we saw a similar footprint. However, it was a different switch in a different location on the feeder that failed this time.”
10:41 AM: If you are trying to get around eastern West Seattle, beware myriad challenges today. Along with the Sylvan Way closure and work at Delridge and Trenton, right now Seattle Fire is blocking 16th SW in the 6000 block, dealing with a gas leak at or near South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), so avoid that area.
11:23 AM: We haven’t heard an update, but the incident log shows all three SFD units are still on scene.
11:31 AM: And now they’ve begun to wind down the response, though Puget Sound Energy is still on scene addressing the situation.
12:35 PM: Just went by to confirm – all clear, road open.
As noted in today’s morning traffic watch, one of West Seattle’s major east-west routes, Sylvan Way, will be closed much of this weekend, without major advance notice aside from sparse signage. Today SDOT was finally able to tell us this is a Seattle Public Utilities project, and we have obtained more information through SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register:
This is SPU drainage crew work. They are responding to some localized flooding issues that were reported by the community last year. SPU is installing one inlet and one catch basin and needs to trench across the street to connect to them to the drainage mainline.
This work will occur Saturday and Sunday, 8 am to 5 pm, and a detour will be in place. Outside of working hours, the crew will be able to reopen the roadway and allow traffic on Sylvan.
Going on 44 hours since the first outages caused by Tuesday night’s windstorm, the biggest remaining pocket finally got power back tonight. We took that photo of a Seattle City Light crew working near 49th/Waite just after dusk tonight; the outage map shows the longrunning 300+-customer pocket in that area has had power restored. The map still shows more than 20 spot outages remaining around West Seattle – most affecting one or two customers. Around the SCL service area, 1,000+ customers are still out, down from what the utility says was a peak of 74,000 customers.
11:18 AM: It’s the near-calm after the storm … but more than 4,500 homes/businesses in West Seattle are still without power after the outages began just before midnight. Here’s a screengrab of the current Seattle City Light map:
South of the big outage in Alki/Admiral/Genesee/North Delridge, most of those markers represent single-digit outages. SCL peaked at 72,000+ customers out and has now halved that, but that still means many hours of work, and as we’ve seen in many other outages, the work can be complicated and take longer, depending on what tree went into what line, affecting what part of the system … etc. Please remember that the estimated restoration times on the SCL map are only guesses – you could get yours back much sooner or much later.
12:54 PM: SCL has provided a detailed update here, including an explanation of how it prioritizes repairs in situations like this. It should also be noted that cable/internet services have been experiencing outages, too – we’ve heard from some customers. Those outages tend to be more hyperlocalized. We did see several Comcast and CenturyLink crews out while we were traveling around the peninsula at midmorning.
1:54 PM: Commenters and texters are telling us the power’s back in most if not all of the large-outage area, after 14 hours. The map should catch up shortly. … Update: About 200 people are still out in scattered outages around WS.
2:24 PM: Still lots of tree-cleanup work to be done, along with the trouble spots we showed earlier. Sarah sent this photo from 39th/Monroe in Gatewood:
And from Aaron, south of Admiral:
Tree trouble led Seattle Parks to tweet this reminder: “Following last night’s windstorm, we encourage all visitors to use caution in our outdoor spaces and please stay out from under trees and avoid forested park areas. To report a downed tree or maintenance issue, contact 206-684-7250.”
6:13 PM: Here’s one of the trees Parks lost – texter just sent this photo of a tree down at Roxhill Park:
6:44 PM: Checking the SCL map again, numerous scattered outages still have almost 500 customers out in West Seattle. Systemwide, nearly 6,000.
8:50 PM: About 300 more people lost power in west Admiral/upper Alki earlier this hour. Though we don’t have any official information beyond the map confirmation, keep in mind that repair work sometimes sparks new outages as crews work on rerouting/reconnection; this is by the scene of the tilting pole and downed wires at 49th/Waite. There’s also a pocket that lost power on the west side of Delridge south of Thistle earlier this evening.
9:20 PM: The Alki/Admiral outage is now at about 500 customers.
6:39 AM: Thousands of people are still without power after the overnight windstorm that hit just before midnight and roared with ~50 mph gusts for hours (here’s our coverage). If you’re headed out this morning, be aware you may encounter streets with downed trees/wires and dark signals. We’ll be tracking those over the next few hours. In West Seattle, most of the 4,400+ without power are in Alki, Admiral, and north of The Junction; even more are out in White Center and points south. The Seattle City Light map shows the areas affected – and also shows that right now, 58,000+ customers throughout its service area are still out, down from 72,000 but still leaving crews with a lot of work ahead. If you encounter a traffic/transit problem, please let us know when you get where you’re going – comment below, or call/text 206-293-6302.
6:56 AM: The East Marginal Way/Ellis problem we reported in overnight coverage continues. Here’s a map; that’s south of the 1st Avenue S. Bridge, but north of the South Park Bridge, so if you were planning to use the latter, heads up. … Most of the trees reported downed overnight were on residential streets, but we do have a report of one this morning on Myers Way just south of West Seattle, near 99th.
7:27 AM: Big Seattle Fire response to the 2200 block of Harbor SW [map] for a reported natural-gas leak. Avoid the area. … Update: Traffic on Harbor is blocked between Florida and Fairmount, while they await Puget Sound Energy.
7:53 AM: Texter reports wires down at 44th/Andover. (Even though some downed lines might be fiber/cable/phone, PLEASE always assume a downed wire is live, and stay away!) Now that it’s light, we’re heading out to check some of the overnight damage locations – we’ll update here but you can also watch the WSB Twitter feed as we go.
8:17 AM: No online classes today for Seattle Public Schools.
8:32 AM: The tree that fell on Marine View Drive at 104th overnight is still blocking the SB lane:
Just passed an SDOT crew doing tree work on southbound 35th SW south of Othello. … Back on Harbor SW, PSE has arrived at the gas leak. Jennifer at West Bay Espresso & Smoothies says it’s their site and the culprit was a mudslide hitting a gas line.
9:08 AM: In Admiral, Waite is blocked east of 49th, near Aegis Living, with a leaning utility pole:
Back in Arbor Heights, Nate reports a tree is blocking 39th at 100th and lines are down on 41st near 100th. And here’s 32nd just south of 106th:
9:45 AM: East of Lincoln Park, two trees are down on 45th SW north of Rose, blocking the NB side.
11:01 AM: Harbor is clear, per a commenter, but the caution tape was left up across the biking/walking path. Meantime, King County Roads says 26th Ave SW between SW 109th St and SW 112th St is closed because of downed trees.
Below, the cameras we usually watch, and a reminder:
LOW-BRIDGE CAMERA ENFORCEMENT: Today is the third day the enforcement cameras on the low bridge are in use, photographing vehicles so that $75 tickets can be sent to owners of unauthorized vehicles crossing between 5 am and 9 pm.
Who’s authorized and who’s not? See our story from Sunday night.
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
The other major bridge across the river – the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s the nearest camera:
To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
11:58 PM: The wind started kicking up in a big way a short time ago, and now we’re getting the first power-outage reports. So far we’re hearing from the north part of the peninsula – Alki, north of The Junction, North Delridge, Fairmount …4,391 homes/businesses per the Seattle City Light map.
12:09 AM: Also an outage of more than 4,000 customers just to the south, including White Center. … A tree is reported down across both lanes of Marine View Drive near SW 104th. … Wires are reported down in an alley behind the 3800 block of 45th SW. …. We have not heard wind this ferocious in a long time. City Light says 49,000+ customers are out in its territory so far.
12:34 AM: To the south of us, the map shows two major outages with more than 10,000 customers out [updated map above]. Throughout SCL’s service area, 62,000+ are now affected by what’s mapped as 115 separate outages. The NWS, via Twitter, says, “The worst winds will be over the next few hours & then gradually decrease.”
12:47 AM: This is keeping firefighters busy as well as SCL crews – they’re responding to more reports of downed trees and/or wires. Right now active calls include the 2600 block of 49th SW and 1700 block of SW Austin. Reminder from the NWS, “You might want to venture outside to check for wind damage. But we don’t recommend it as the winds are still gusty and will be for the next hour or two.” It’s not just that this wind is strong enough to take down trees, but that all the recent rain may have destabilized some to start with. … 7900 block of 28th SW, firefighters are at another home where a tree’s toppled …
1:22 AM: At the aforementioned 49th SW block, firefighters are reporting multiple compromised utility poles. The wind is still howling. … Some encouraging news from NWS: “The worst of the winds have passed — but it will still remain gusty for the next few hours on the order of 30-45 mph.” Also via Twitter, KT says the wind blew out their picture window – the glass fell outward, not inward:
Trouble on the east side of the Duwamish River … per radio exchange, pole/wire trouble is closing East Marginal at Ellis, and the 4th Ave. Bridge is closed. … From the aforementioned 49th SW trouble spot, Margo comments below: “We have an entire massive tree that fell down onto our house in the backyard. Plenty of exterior structural damage to house and deck, but luckily didn’t come through into the house itself.”
1:43 AM: Now a report of a tree onto a house, with downed wires, near 32nd and 106th; SFD and SPD are on the way … Also in SW West Seattle – via email, Brandon reports a mudslide blocking Seola Beach Drive. … Here’s a list of highest gusts so far tonight; Seattle’s had multiple ~50 mph reports.
2:23 AM: The wind sounds a bit calmer, after 2 1/2 hours of fury. The new reports of trees/lines down have dwindled, too. But City Light has 70,000+ customers out area-wide, in 168 separate “events,” so if you’re out, it’s likely to be a while before you’re back. (Let us know with a comment or a text – 206-293-6302 – otherwise there’s no online note about restoration time, the outage just vanishes from the map.)
6:06 AM: City Light still has 57,000+ customers out, down from a peak of 72,000. We’re working on a separate trsffic watch but in the meantime, be aware of traffic-light outages and tree blockages – let us know if you encounter any of them (call or text AFTER you get where you’re going) – thank you.
6:42 AM: Our coverage continues here.
Another utility project is set to start, affecting a local street. This time it’s 34th SW in Arbor Heights, near Westside School (WSB sponsor), between SW 104th and 106th. That’s where Puget Sound Energy will be “replacing a portion of the underground natural-gas main and select service lines.” 34th SW will be reduced to one lane in the work area. The work is expected to last about two weeks and may involve some service interruptions. Full details, and a map, are on a flyer (here and here) sent to neighbors, who have been told the work is expected to start Monday. (Thanks to Jodean for the tip!)
11:38 AM: If you’ve traveled California SW through south Morgan Junction/lower Gatewood in the past few days, you might have wondered about that big tank in the middle of the street near SW Myrtle, accompanied by a lane closure and work crews. Here’s what we’ve found out: Seattle Public Utilities is repairing more than 55 feet of sewer main. The tank is to hold groundwater as needed; it’s known as a Baker tank. The project is expected to take a month or so. Neighboring residents/businesses were sent this flyer, SPU tells us; they’re looking into our followup question about whether the repairs are related to the extensive redevelopment on both sides of the street in that area in recent years.
5:49 PM: Reply from SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register: “The repair involved an 18-inch clay pipe that was installed in 1950 and showing signs of deterioration. The repair was identified as part of Seattle Public Utilities’ normal process to inspect our pipes to look for signs of deterioration and then make repairs as needed.”
In the dark, often-rainy heart of winter, a nonfunctioning/malfunctioning streetlight stands out. Right now, West Seattle has more than 20 of them. After a question from a reader, we looked into the current state of streetlight trouble-reporting and repairs. Above is a screengrab from the Seattle City Light streetlight-repair tracking map. Once a streetlight’s been reported, it gets categorized at one of three levels. The most-common type in our area currently, marked by red dots on the map, generally will take a while to fix, the map explains, because: “The streetlight is failing due to issues within the streetlight’s electrical system. … These repairs require engineers to assess and design a solution to fix the streetlight’s electrical system.” Since so many nonfunctioning West Seattle lights are shown in that category, we asked SCL spokesperson Julie Moore to elaborate on what those “issues” tend to include, and whether that means repairs will take months rather than weeks. Here’s her reply:
The most common “issue” is often related to old equipment that needs to be brought up to current standards. As the note on the streetlight tracker says, these kind of fixes require additional time and effort as engineers must assess and design a solution, then it must go through permitting, crew scheduling and construction within the City right-of-way. Another issue that can sometimes prompt this type of solution is wire theft; however, this has not been as prevalent an issue in 2020 as in recent years.
Yes, these “red ticket” repair jobs can take much longer to complete than simple fixes for the reasons described above. Please also be aware that City Light is experiencing significant resource challenges and a growing backlog for certain work, including streetlight repair and new service connections, at this time. Several factors combined created this situation, including a pause in work in response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order earlier this year, other COVID-related impacts to our operations staffing model and vacancies, as well as competing priority projects and unplanned essential work. Depending on the complexity of the project, we estimate timelines for completion are weeks or even months longer than in the pre-COVID world.
You may have noticed the pop-up note when you first visit the streetlight tracker site: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle City Light is prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work and doing work in a way that minimizes service disruptions to customers. Crew availability is limited to emergency streetlighting repairs, so we apologize if there is a delay with your request.
We will continue to prioritize emergency repairs to address public safety concerns. Our goal is to meet or exceed our customer expectations and it is disappointing when we do not. We are working on near- and long-term improvements to address the backlog and reduce project timelines.
Some repairs can be completed more quickly, so keep reporting nonfunctioning streetlights – check the map first to see if someone has already made a report – click on a dot to see the address and pole # to verify it’s the same one. There are multiple ways to report a problem – this online form, the Find It Fix It app, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 206-684-7056.
Thanks to Jodi for the tip – 10 customers are out of power near 14th/Roxbury. No indication so far of the cause.
UPDATE: Jodi emailed at 6:26 pm to say, “Back on, thank goodness & hurray to the City Light people out working tonight.”
8:15 AM: We’re getting word of a power outage – Highland Park, Riverview, Greenbridge checking in so far. Apparently a crash on the Highland Park Way hill is related, per emergency radio. Updates to come.
8:19 AM: City Light map shows 2,100+ out. The outage also stretches into South Park.
8:50 AM: Police are still at the scene of the crash. No serious injuries reported. We are headed that way.
8:57 AM: Crashed car is off the road on uphill side, close to bottom of hill. Both directions of traffic still open. Signals are out at top and bottom of hill. Remember, that means all-way stop!
9:04 AM: Texters report power restored.
9:29 AM: Updated map shows 281 still out, mostly Puget Ridge.
10:19 AM: And now the map shows everybody’s back on.
Two weekend power problems called for a little more followup with Seattle City Light, and today we got responses. First – the “cable failure” blamed for Saturday afternoon’s outage, which at its peak took 3,760 homes and businesses out of power, from Westwood to White Center. Some asked if that might have resulted from a problem such as theft or a collision. No, it was spontaneous, says SCL spokesperson Julie Moore, adding it was a “large primary underground cable” that crews were able to isolate and fix.
Then on Sunday morning, around 7:45 am, a power “flicker” affected a wide area of West Seattle. It was relatively brief, and unlike many “flickers,” no longer-running outage ensued, so we didn’t report on it, but we did ask Moore about it too. She says it “was caused by a breaker, which protects the rest of the line from extra voltage. They are intentionally sensitive and can cause electricity to blink when they are triggered and acting as intended.”
2:34 PM: Getting word of a power outage – hearing from South Delridge and White Center so far. Not mapped yet. Anyone else?
2:37 PM: 3,760 without power – just came up on City Light map. No cause yet.
2:58 PM: The outage is affecting some traffic signals, including on Roxbury – remember that an out or flashing signal becomes a 4-way stop. Also reported to be affected: At least part of Westwood Village.
3:20 PM: There’s a multi-vehicle crash at an apparently affected intersection, 16th/107th, with one car reported on its side. King County Sheriff’s Deputies are on scene. Meanwhile, we have a message out to SCL seeking the latest on the outage’s cause.
3:32 PM: Via Twitter, City Light just said it’s “troubleshooting” the cause. But we just got a text that power’s back for at least some.
3:39 PM: The map shows just under 400 customers now still without power, mostly in the Greenbridge area. Adding the updated screengrab above.
3:51 PM: Here’s the crash scene at 16th/107th, east side of the intersection:
Deputies say three cars were involved and the signal (back on now) was out at the time. No injuries. They’re just waiting for tow trucks.
5:56 PM: SCL map shows everybody’s back on.
6:07 PM: SCL tells us that “underground cable failure” is what they believe was the cause.
(From SPU water-outage map)
Everyone affected should already have received notice, but just for the record – about 145 Seattle Public Utilities customers along California SW between Juneau and Graham are scheduled to be without water tonight, potentially 9 pm-5 am. SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register tells WSB this is the same kind of work that required a nighttime outage earlier this week in Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge – “SPU water crews will be installing a 12” valve on a nearby water main. Valves allow smaller sections of a water main to be shut down, impacting fewer customers, when repairs and maintenance are needed in the future. They also provide an additional safety measure should an emergency water-main shutdown need to occur.”
Thanks to Pete for the tip. Seattle Public Utilities has been notifying residents of Pigeon Point and Puget Ridge about a planned water outage for about 6 hours next Tuesday night, December 8th, 6 pm until midnight or so. The SPU outage map – which displays planned outages as well as emergencies – shows 200+ homes will be affected, but has no details of the reason for the outage. We asked SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register, who replied: “Seattle Public Utilities water crews will be installing a 12” isolation valve on a nearby water main. This work requires a temporary water outage for some customers in the area. Isolation valves allow smaller sections of a water main to be shut down (impacting fewer customers) when repairs and maintenance are needed in the future. They also provide an additional safety measure should an emergency water main shutdown need to occur.”
Construction staging and signage are in view along SW Holly in the 40th/41st vicinity, as
Seattle City Light gets ready for a monthlong project. The work is “to repair and reconstruct” underground wiring for area streetlights, and to replace the fixtures and poles. The work will involve trenching, which SCL notes might affect traffic along SW Holly, which some use as an alternate to Fauntleroy Way. They’re planning to have flaggers on hand for that. SCL says no outages are expected during the work, which will be done on weekdays between 7 am and 3:30 pm, possibly starting later this week. Here’s the official flyer.
That Seattle City Light truck is the reason SW Charlestown is closed west of 46th SW – and a block away, SW Spokane is closed in the same spot. Planned work, according to the SCL map, which shows a 34-customer outage as a result of the work. No word how long it will last – the map shows the power in the area was expected to be restored four hours ago.
1:05 PM: Texter in High Point says they heard a boom, and they’re out. Here in Upper Fauntleroy, we had a big flicker, but power returned fast. While we await the map update, anyone else out?
1:07 PM: 893 customers, per SCL map.
1:12 PM: Added screengrab of map, showing this is centered in High Point. No word yet what the aforementioned “boom” was – no area calls on the SFD log so far.\
1:38 PM: A texter tells us they’ve spoken to the crew working on the problem – they said the crew was doing maintenance at 32nd/Juneau when a transformer blew, and that it could take up to four hours to fix.
3:48 PM: After almost three hours, it’s fixed, according to messages we’re getting (thank you!).
4:35 PM: We asked SCL spokesperson Julie Moore for details on the cause, and the report that a crew was in the area doing work when it happened. Her reply: “Crews were in the area doing maintenance on an unrelated piece of equipment. A switch failure caused the outage.”
10:28 AM: In case you heard the sirens: Seattle Fire has responded to a natural-gas leak in the 5400 block of 36th SW [map], east of Fairmount Park. Firefighters told dispatch it’s a 1-inch line, and they’re closing 36th until the leak is dealt with.
10:47 AM: The incident commander reports they’ve evacuated homes “to the north and south” as a precaution and are still waiting for Puget Sound Energy to come shut off the gas.
11:19 AM: PSE has arrived and stopped the leak.