Utilities 1012 results

FOLLOWUP: What caused twin West Seattle Junction power outages, and what’ll be done to prevent more

Readers in The Junction identified that pole as epicenter of the two identical-footprint West Seattle Junction power outages this past Friday and Saturday – both taking out almost 500 businesses and homes for hours, both blamed on “bird/animal.” We followed up today with Seattle City Light spokesperson Julie Moore, who tells WSB: “It was indeed crows impacting the same spot two days in a row. We are pursuing installing avian protection at this location, which will require a scheduled outage to perform the work. I don’t have details on timing right now, but impacted customers will receive notification when the work is scheduled.” The City Light website explains avian protection and notes more than 200 known bird deaths a year – mostly crows.

UPDATE: Power outage déjà vu in West Seattle Junction

7:20 PM: Power’s out in the West Seattle Junction again – same area, same number of customers as Friday’s outage, 491. That one was blamed on “bird/animal” – no word on this one yet, though one texter says it’s the “same pole.”

9:09 PM: This one too is attributed to that same type of cause.

12:25 AM: Power’s back.

UPDATE: Power outage in The Junction

5:14 PM: Thanks for the tips. A power outage in The Junction is affecting some businesses – we’re told at least part of the east side of California between Alaska and Oregon. Also, Gary Potter from Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) says the traffic signal at 42nd/Alaska is out, “transformer blew.” Updates to come.

5:22 PM: Seattle City Light’s map (from which we’ve added a screengrab, above) says 20 customers are out.

5:31 PM: The map has been updated again – now it says 491 customers are without power. We’re updating the map above, too.

6:50 PM: SCL now attributes the outage to “bird/animal.” Though the estimate for restoration is tomorrow morning, please remember that the restoration estimates are just speculative and generally bear no relation to when the power actually is restored – could be a lot sooner, could be later.

9:26 PM: City Light map hasn’t updated yet but we’re getting multiple reports of power restoration. (Added: The map caught up; outage over.)

TRAFFIC ALERT: Next phase of water-main project affecting Admiral Way traffic

(Project zone map provided last month by SPU)

3:24 PM: Last month, we published first word of a water-main project in the Admiral area, with a note that the work would eventually affect travel on SW Admiral Way. That phase is about to start – here’s the update from Seattle Public Utilities:

Starting May 27, SPU contractor crews will begin construction activities on the northwest corner of the intersection at SW Admiral Way and 39th Ave SW. This work is part of a water-main replacement project taking place on 39th Ave SW between SW Grayson St and SW Admiral Way.

While crews are performing work on SW Admiral Way, the two westbound lanes will be closed during working hours between 38th Ave SW and just east of 39th Ave SW. Two-way traffic will be maintained using the two open eastbound lanes. Northbound traffic on 38th Ave SW and 39th Ave SW will not be able to turn left onto SW Admiral Way while traffic controls are in place.

Residents will continue to have pedestrian access to their homes, and roadways will be open outside of working hours. However, site restoration may require a longer closure of 39th Ave SW and SW Admiral Way of up to 3 days to allow the pavement to cure. Residents and commuters are asked to please pay attention to on-site signage and staff direction to support safe movement around the construction site.

Normal working hours will continue to be Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm. There will be a brief pause in construction activities Friday, May 28 – Monday, May 31 for the Memorial Day holiday.

Work on SW Admiral Way is anticipated to take about two weeks to complete, and the contractor is scheduled to finish work at this site and demobilize in mid-June.

6:11 PM: Two readers said the work at Admiral/39th is already under way. So we asked SPU if the timetable had accelerated. They checked with their on-site team and then sent us this:

Update: Starting (today), there will be intermittent lane restrictions on SW Admiral Way at 39th Ave SW. On Thursday, May 27, crews will close two lanes of traffic on SW Admiral Way to perform water main connection work at the intersection. Crews will re-open SW Admiral Way after work on Thursday and return after the Memorial Day holiday to install hydrants and perform final pavement restoration over the next few weeks. SPU crews are working to minimize impacts to residents and commuters to the extent possible.

RESCUE: West Seattle neighbors team up to get stuck cat down


That cat is one lucky kitty. It survived a close call with high-voltage danger, thanks to determined neighbors who spent hours on Tuesday trying to get it down. Among them, Corey, who sent the report, photos, and video:

Here is a crazy story with a nice ending. We live in the Osborn condos on California Avenue SW in the Junction. My wife was on our deck and a lady below asked if we had a black and white cat and pointed to the telephone pole in the alley behind our condo. There was a fluffy black and white cat about 45 feet above the ground balanced on a 3″ piece of metal on a telephone pole. Various neighbors called the fire department, electric company, animal control pleading for someone to help get this cat down.

Pastor Ron from (First Lutheran Church of West Seattle) and neighbor Dominic tried to use a 40-foot ladder to get the cat down, but the ladder was not tall enough. I visited the local fire department and spoke with fire chief. Two police cruisers ended up in the alley and two concerned officers helped by calling the public utility requesting assistance. After about two hours of neighbors placing calls and assistance from the Seattle Police, Seattle City Light came out with its lift and rescued the cat.

The City Light worker indicated that the cat was straddling a couple live wires and one bad step could have ended this cat’s life. The cat was successfully rescued and ran off to its home!

As you can hear at the end of the video, the rescue was a relief to everyone watching!

FOLLOWUP: New schedule for Alki pump-station construction

(Pump Station 38 art concept by Sarah Thompson Moore)

10:44 AM: Back in March, we brought you an update (with video) on the art project planned for the Alki Pump Station 38 project, which also revealed a new design detail – a guardrail. At the time, the project website still said construction at the site in the 1400 block of Alki Avenue SW [map] was expected to begin this year. Today, an update from Seattle Public Utilities: The pump-station project is now expected to start early next year, with work lasting at least 9 months. They’re circulating a fact sheet and FAQ about the project:

And if those don’t answer whatever questions you might have, they’ve set up a survey to collect construction-related questions. SPU says the main reason for the project is to handle increased flows in the area; most of the work will be below-ground. We’re asking SPU about the latest projected cost; last year the utility told us it was budgeted at $1.2 million, with about $50,000 for the public-art component.

4:19 PM: SPU spokesperson Dylan King says the budget is still estimated at $1.2 million, but, “SPU is in the process of finalizing the design and will reevaluate the cost estimate once design is complete. The project team is also expecting increased budget needs for the artwork to accommodate the addition of the decorative panels and other art features included as part of the safety guardrail.” That rail, by the way, is expected to be 38.5 feet long and 49 inches high. The project is scheduled to go out to bid this fall.

READER REPORT: Early-morning utility work

April 30, 2021 12:37 am
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

If you’re anywhere near California/Andover and hearing jackhammering – that’s what Erich, who sent the photo, reports is going on. The crew told him they’re looking for a gas leak. SFD logs don’t show any gas-leak callouts in the past day, so it does not appear to be any kind of immediate threat. We’ll check with Puget Sound Energy later this morning.

FOLLOWUP: Alki gets the ‘all clear’ after sewer overflow

Two days after Seattle Public Utilities closed the area off Bonair/Alki to “water activities” because of a sewer overflow, it’s open again. SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register tells WSB that the latest water-quality tests show it’s safe. As reported Wednesday, the overflow – approximately 1,655 gallons – is blamed on a century-old sewer line failing. We’re continuing to follow up to see what’s planned for repair/replacement.

UPDATE: Power outage north of West Seattle Junction

5:05 PM: Thanks for the tip! That is a screenshot from the Seattle City Light outage map, which shows 31 customers without power near California/Dakota starting just after 4 pm. No official word yet what caused it.

6:44 PM: The SCL map now attributes the outage to “bird/animal”; commenter DEK says it was a crow.

9:40 PM: Restored since last time we checked.

FOLLOWUP: Alki sewer overflow blamed on ‘old infrastructure’

(WSB photo)

The sign’s still up at Bonair/Alki, one day after Seattle Public Utilities reported a sewer overflow into Puget Sound. The warning zone is at the easternmost end of the beach – it covers “water activities” for about 600 feet in either direction. Today SPU spokesoerson Sabrina Register told WSB the amount of spilled sewage is estimated at about 1,655 gallons. And a pump station was not involved, she said – rather, “An initial assessment shows structural failure (a collapsed mainline) on nearly 100-year-old infrastructure.” SPU work crews were seen in the area earlier today:

Thanks to Chas Redmond for that photo. We’ll check on the repair plasn tomorrow; SPU has said the warning signage will remain in place until water sampling shows it’s safe.

UTILITY WORK ALERT: Water-main project in Admiral

April 19, 2021 2:29 pm
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Seattle Public Utilities is about to start a month-plus-long project to replace a water main in the Admiral area. SPU says the project – mostly on 39th SW between Grayson and Admiral – was originally supposed to start last year, but was delayed by both the pandemic and “contractor availability.” Here’s the official notice:

Work is expected to start “as soon as Wednesday.” SPU also tells us the work will have an impact on Admiral Way at some point, and they’ll send a separate notice when that gets close.

Brown water in West Seattle, and what to.do if it happens to you

April 17, 2021 2:02 pm
|    Comments Off on Brown water in West Seattle, and what to.do if it happens to you
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Thanks to the texter who reported brown water in the Belvidere area. First thing to do if that happens to you is, report it to 206-386-1800. That’s the 24-hour Seattle Public Utilities hotline. If there have already been other reports, they might be able to tell you what the problem is – say, a water break in your area. More often in weather like this, it is the Seattle Fire Department using/testing hydrants, and that’s what the texter was told. That stirs up sediment – basically, rust. West Seattle had so much trouble with this five years ago, a special flushing-the-lines project ensued. Back to what you can do: Today’s texter was told, don’t use the water for a few hours, then run cold water for 20 seconds or so and that should clear things up. Here’s more advice.

FOLLOWUP: Artist’s updated design for Alki Pump Station 38, plus a guardrail

Last summer, we reported on the concept for public art that’ll be part of the Alki Pump Station 38 project in the 1400 block of Alki Avenue SW, with a survey for your comments.. Now, an update on artist Sarah Thompson Moore‘s design – including word that a guardrail has been added to the project:

Here are basics on the pump-station upgrade, aimed at increasing capacity and reliability. The project website still says construction is expected to start this year.

UPDATE: Another power outage in The Arroyos

7:47 AM: Thanks for the tip, For the second time in three days, more than 100 customers in The Arroyos have lost power. This one, like the previous one, is affecting 109 customers, according to the City Light map.

3:07 PM: We asked SCL spokesperson Julie Moore about the outages. Her reply:

The cause of these outages is equipment failure, a fault in the underground direct buried cable, though not in the same locations. As you know, with direct buried cable, it can take longer to locate the issue than with overhead, which prolongs the outage. With the current outage, crews have located the fault and are working on repairs. …

This is the system in the Arroyo neighborhood where we have an ongoing project to replace the aging direct buried cable with an underground conduit system, which will improve reliability. Once conduit installation is complete, estimated in the second quarter of 2021, electrical crews will install the new underground cables. This work will take up to six months to complete and may require planned outages; City Light will notify customers in advance.

Given these recent outages, we’re planning to send a message to those who’ve signed up to receive project updates by email this afternoon.

That’s just been sent. And Moore also noted that, as happened in the previous outage, almost half the customers have their power back.

ADDED: In comments, Stacy says power was restored around 5:30 pm.

UPDATE: Power outage in The Arroyos

10:08 PM: Thanks to Colby for the tip: He reports an “explosion” preceded this 109-customer power outage in The Arroyos, at the southwesternmost edge of West Seattle. The City Light outage map already identifies it as a case of “equipment failure.”

1:08 AM: Still out. (For the record, the outage started at 9:40 pm.)

9:45 AM: After 12 hours, not fixed yet, per the map.

4:25 PM: And it continues.

7:31 PM: Colby points out that almost half the affected homes have their power back now; the SCL map says 60 are still out.

UTILITY ALERT: Planned water outage

March 19, 2021 5:52 pm
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Seattle Public Utilities was scheduled to provide notification today to residents and businesses along SW Yancy between Avalon and 28th who will be affected by an upcoming water outage.

Those are the properties affected, as shown on the SPU Water Outages map – about two dozen customers. The shutoff is planned for 8 pm next Friday, March 26th, until 8 am the following morning. SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register says, “SPU is shutting down the water main and water service to customers as a safety measure to protect the City’s pipe while a private developer (Lotus Development Partners) conducts underground work associated with their construction project.” That’s the Transitional Resources supportive-housing project on Yancy.

P.S. The outage map’s list of upcoming planned outages also includes one next Thursday, 8 am-4 pm, affecting 59 customers in the vicinity of 3009 SW Myrtle.

OUTAGE: Comcast trouble? It’s not just you

10:37 AM: Thanks for the tips. Multiple people have messaged us about a Comcast outage in Arbor Heights; checking the outage map, both 98136 and 98146 are identified as having outages with “51 to 500” customers affected; there’s a smaller outage (50 or less) in 98106 too. We’re checking with the company to see if they can tell us more.

3:37 PM: A Comcast spokesperson says there are “no systemic issues.” But the outages are still showing on the map.

Water trouble in Gatewood, Arbor Heights

Thanks to Troy for the tip. If you are having any water trouble in Gatewood, could be related to a problem in the vicinity of 39th SW/SW Rose, where that crew has been working. Nothing is showing on the Seattle Public Utilities water-outage map, so we have an inquiry out and will update with whatever we hear back.

ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: We have yet to get a response from SPU. But as noted in comments, Arbor Heights had an outage today too, near 37th and 106th. That one did turn up on the map.

UPDATE: No garbage/recycling pickup Monday; delays all week

(Near 35th/Henderson, photographed by Mary Burki)

8:59 PM SUNDAY: Biggest question of the night: Will there be garbage/recycling pickup tomorrow? The Seattle Public Utilities update we included in afternoon coverage remains the newest information:

If there is still snow and/or ice on the ground Monday and conditions are determined to be unsafe for SPU contractors, the Utility will operate on a one-day delay for garbage, recycling and food/yard waste pickup this coming week. SPU will be sure to communicate just as soon as decisions are made.

Whenever we get word of that decision, we’ll update this story.

6:23 AM MONDAY: Still no announcement.

7:50 AM: No pickup today, says Waste Management: “Attention Monday Residential Customers: Your services cannot be provided today. Please leave carts at the curb. We will collect tomorrow or as conditions allow. We will collect materials missed during this delay – no extra charge.”

9:36 AM: And, as per the original city announcement above, the rest of the week will be delayed too, SPU says.

Here’s what caused this morning’s small West Seattle power outage

February 8, 2021 1:15 pm
|    Comments Off on Here’s what caused this morning’s small West Seattle power outage
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Thanks to Lorie for mentioning a power outage that affected some homes in Belvidere early this morning. It was over by the time we saw her note, which meant it was no longer shown on the Seattle City Light power-outage map, so we checked with SCL’s Julie Moore about the size and cause. She tells WSB, “Apparently tree limbs caused a transformer outage impacting eight customers. Our records show the outage lasted 4:16-6:37 a.m.”

FOLLOWUP: California/Myrtle sewer-line project wrapped up

February 4, 2021 8:01 pm
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 |   Transportation | Utilities | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

After 4 weeks, the south Morgan Junction/Gatewood work zone for a Seattle Public Utilities sewer-line repair project is cleared. As our through-the-windshield photo from late today shows, the pavement patching will have to be smoothed – we will be checking with SPU for a timeline on that. But the cross-lane bumps in the northbound lane, which contributed to a bicyclist falling and requiring hospitalization, are gone. Our original January report explains the work that was done. SPU is now moving on to another sewer-line repair that will affect traffic on Fauntleroy Way south of Alaska; work was supposed to start today, but as of late afternoon, it had yet to begin.

FOLLOWUP: Sylvan Way pavement-repair date set

(January 17th photo courtesy Sam)

Following the recent Seattle Public Utilities drainage-repair work on Sylvan Way, SPU promised it would return to smooth out the bumpy surface left behind. They’ve just announced the plan for that:

A contractor for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will begin asphalt paving on Sylvan Way SW beginning Monday, Feb. 15. SPU completed a drainage improvement project on Sylvan Way SW last month and is permanently restoring the roadway.

Work hours are anticipated to be 9 am to 4 pm. On Feb. 15, one lane near 6950 Sylvan Way SW will be closed. Two-way traffic will be maintained by flaggers on site. All travel lanes will be open outside of working hours. The following day, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, crews will complete paving on the shoulder of the road, near 7194 Sylvan Way SW. Both travel lanes will remain open, but vehicles should use caution near the work area. Asphalt paving work is weather-dependent, and schedule is subject to change.

ROAD WORK ALERT: Another sewer-repair project ahead for a major West Seattle street

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.