Patrick Robinson
Delridge Repaving Project Coordinator Inga Schenker talks with residents about the project, expected to last nine to 12 months starting in Jan. 2013.

SDOT lays out their plan for a year-long repaving project on Delridge; Detours upcoming in 2013

Paving maintenance in the City of Seattle is part of the voter-approved, $365 million Bridging the Gap Levy passed in 2006, and it is finally Delridge Ave S.W.’s turn for some much needed attention.

Starting in January of 2013, Seattle’s Department of Transportation will start a nine to 12–month repaving project from S.W. Orchard St. to S.W. Henderson St. There are several changes coming along with the new concrete.

In a sparsely attended public information meeting at Chief Sealth on Oct. 2, SDOT employees set up to answer questions and explain the process.

Regarding the basics, SDOT Paving Program Manager and West Seattle resident Jessica Murphy explained, “We are going to rebuild the travel lanes in the roadway … with new concrete pavement that will better withstand the weight of the traffic that it currently carries. Along with that we are going to install new or upgrade existing curb ramps at the corners that cross Delridge to meet current standards of accessibility, and we will also be installing a series of storm drainage improvements that will slow the flow of water from the street and pipes into Longfellow Creek.”

Murphy said the storm drainage improvements are a big part of the project, and citizens will see work crews pulling up the old road, then start digging deep to make room for drainage pipes anywhere from 42 inches to 48 inches in diameter to help manage stormwater runoff during heavy rain.

Additionally, SDOT is “adding bike lanes, we are adding a north bound to west bound left turn pocket at Holden and there are a couple of sections – the far south end of Delridge and 16th Ave. - that are not currently funded but if the bids come in low and if we have some savings on other projects it may be possible to extend (the project), and if we do that there are some other parking changes that would happen in the business district,” Murphy said.

SDOT will also change travel lanes to one lane in each direction on Delridge from S.W. Myrtle St. to S.W. Kenyon St. (with a turn lane in the middle). Many have questioned how the heavily traveled corridor will do with reduced travel lanes, to which SDOT explains in project materials, “The current average daily traffic on Delridge Way S.W. is under 14,000 motor vehicles a day. National studies show that this level of traffic can be accommodated within the proposed 3-lane configuration.” SDOT cites a 2004 Federal Highway Administration study that found identical configurations can handle up to 20,000 vehicles a day.

SDOT also wrote that safety is also a factor in reducing travel lanes.

“Reconfiguring the travel lanes has been shown to reduce collisions and speeds," and the reconfiguration also brings six-foot wide bike lanes into the mix between Myrtle and Kenyon.

Over the last five years on Delridge between Myrtle and Kenyon, SDOT recorded 102 total collisions, including pedestrian and bike-involved incidents (although the majority were car-to-car).

Detours will happen, but SDOT hopes to lessen the blow with phases
“The biggest thing with this construction project is that we have to detour one direction of traffic during the construction because the majority of the segment we are repaving is not wide enough to maintain two directions of traffic and complete our work safely,” Murphy said. “We will be detouring southbound traffic to 35th Ave S.W. during the project. To minimize the impact of that detour, we have broken the project up into smaller phases so in any one section the detour isn’t as long in duration and it also helps facilitate the heavy (Metro bus) transit use that is along the corridor so you don’t have to miss so many stops.”

Much more detail on SDOT’s Delridge Way S.W. repaving plan is available at the project website, http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/delridge_safety.htm.

Comments on the project can be sent to walkandbike@seattle.gov, or by calling 206-684-7583.

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