Constant Construction, Inordinate Impact

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    Has anyone else noticed that West Seattle roads are under constant construction, with inordinately long project timelines? Holden and Delridge have been under construction for all of COVID now. That, and during a time when the bridge is closed so that area already relies on heavier traffic than normal. And then, before that is completed there is construction up that hill to add speed bumps- speed bumps of all things. And then there is the construction north of that prohibiting entrance to Delridge by Cloverdale and just north of that is more construction to turn onto Barton. All of these are now taking months.

    With this kind of road work, I would honestly rather not have road work at all for a year. Why is it so hard to get construction bids for projects, with clear timelines, and then charge the construction company if they go vastly over in time or resources? Perhaps I am not understanding something, and if so I’d love to hear. Every other area I’ve lived in (about a dozen now) have not had anywhere near these kinds of problems with roadwork. I can only assume it’s a criminal misuse or mismanagement of public funds.

    I have seen some similar threads with some weak responses like the fact that hours are more limited during COVID or labor is more difficult or individual explanations of having to redo work done already. But when this occurs repeatedly, for years, what explanation is there really for this? And what recourse do we have to end this?



    When would be convenient for you for the city to maintain its roads? Often road work is scheduled to create the least disruption but there are times and project scopes where impact is unavoidable. In these cases mitigation happens but those options are often limited.

    Many of the projects have complex scopes that require work beyond the surface and many of the projects that are primarily performed on the surface require extensive prep prior to the final pours of concrete or asphalt. By not performing those preparatory tasks and not pouring when conditions are good leads to repairs on that new work sooner.

    Construction bids are made with certain assumptions and based on provided information. If there are issues discovered during that construction it’s possible that a reassessment of the engineering and associated costs may come into play, which is reasonable. Example may be poor soil conditions for soil compaction requiring additives or other solutions, utilities or other underground systems that were unknown due to age or 3rd party installations, etc. It would be very unreasonable to require a contractor to bid work and eat those unanticipated and unforeseen costs, especially on a low bid lump sum basis. That said, when contractors screw the pooch the may be subject to contractual penalties called “liquidated damages”. Often these are pecuniary in nature and are cumulative on a daily basis. In some contracts they are also substantial.

    There is a labor shortage. Also, we have an entire generation that believes that physical labor is beneath them. I see it all the time in hiring and work performance. Much of this is due to HS counselors, for the last 20-25 years or so saying that the only options for students is college or the military. Vocational education has been cut, social pressure to get that degree, and no real understanding of the value of the trades and now those chickens are coming home to roost (which is great for my pay). It has also led to a glut in college graduates which has driven down the value of that degree in the job market. This creates a wicked double whammy effect (technical term) of broke young-uns complaining that good paying jobs just don’t exist even though they are literally everywhere if you’re willing to get dirty and, of course, start at the bottom.

    So, in short, too much work, too few workers, a shortage in raw materials, and, perhaps, poor planning, leads to this lag in completion which is inconvenient for you. Oh, and that if we don’t repair roads when there are first issues then it leads to larger issues and more expensive and time consuming repairs.

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