As one of Seattle’s busiest arterials, with an average daily traffic count of 30,000, Holman Road NW was showing noticeable signs of wear.
“[It’s] is in need of maintenance repairs,” said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) spokesperson Maribel Cruz. “There was a great need for maintenance on the roadway and as SDOT evaluated the scope of work through its Complete Streets program, it was determined that several additional improvements could be made to benefit all forms of transportation, not just drivers.”
In order to provide drivers with a smoother, more efficient route, extend the life of the roadway and improve both accessibility and safety for pedestrians, SDOT will grind and repave 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) of Holman Road and make pedestrian safety improvements from Greenwood Ave. N. to NW 87th Street.
Additional work includes sidewalk spot repairs, curb ramp installations, bus zone and bus shelter improvements and bridge expansion joint replacement. Bus stop improvements include lighting and new facilities. Crews also will build two new medians — one for pedestrians at 13th Avenue NW and another at 7th Avenue NW — and enlarge one existing median at 15th Avenue NW. Temporary pedestrian safety improvements also will be implemented on Mary Avenue NW and NW 92nd Street.
Funding for this project includes a Federal Surface Transportation Program preservation grant of $1.1 million and Bridging the Gap funding of $2.7 million.
Paving the Way
Lakeside, the paving subcontractor, oversees a substantial portion of the project that involves equipment such as an EX-75 Hitachi excavator, an asphalt paver, an asphalt grinder, a concrete grinder, a 580 Case backhoe with breaker and numerous dump trucks.
That equipment is being used to place 5,000 tons (4,536 t) of asphalt to create 2,000 sq. yds. (1,672 sq m) of sidewalk, 1,500 LF of curb and 60 ADA ramps.
“Paving is weather-dependent, but under the guidance of general contractor Westwater Construction, work remains on schedule.” Cruz said, “We’ve communicated that the project would wrap up by the end of summer, which still looks to be the case. There are a few more milestones that need to be reached, but so far the weather has been a big help in keeping this project on schedule. The project has [had] surprisingly great weather. There [have] been a couple of weather days, but considering it’s Seattle, that’s a pretty good statistic.”
Work began the week of April 14, 2014. Normal work hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with some weekend and weeknight work. In order to reduce the impact to surrounding communities, work has been divided into two zones and will be constructed one phase at a time.
The first zone of the project is on Holman Road NW between 7th Avenue NW and Greenwood Avenue N. The second zone of the project on Holman Road NW between NW 87th Street and 7th Avenue NW began the week of May 19. This phase will include replacing bridge expansion joints, which will require full weekend night closures in both directions.
Working mostly 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., a crew of 8-15 has been keeping the project on schedule, but some nighttime and weekend work has contributed to maintaining the timeline. Late night and early morning grinding is allowed under the conditions of a city noise variance.
“Residents have had several nights of grinding and paving throughout the project, which has been kept to a minimum as possible,” said Cruz.
The project has even been lucky in regards to unforeseen issues that can often adversely affect a schedule.
“We had one issue when a utility line broke underneath a newly paved surface,” Cruz said, “but it was not the fault of our project and our inspectors quickly contacted Seattle Public Utilities, who came out quickly to address the issue.”
One of the more challenging aspects has been traffic control.
“The most challenging part has been maintaining traffic control and keeping traffic moving in the area,” Cruz said. “Holman Road is a popular commute route for many drivers from different parts of Seattle. The most important part was communicating to that audience. We have maintained at least one lane of traffic in each direction at all times except for one 24-hour closure to make bridge repairs.” Some local bus routes were rerouted during these closures.
Drivers have had to contend with occasional driveway and intersection closures, parking and loading restrictions near work zones, temporary bus stop relocations or closures and detours for pedestrians and cyclists.
During the project, temporary wheel stops were installed to provide safer passage for pedestrians and bicyclists along Mary Avenue NW and NW 92nd Street. This improvement will be in effect until a new sidewalk is built as part of a Safe Routes to School project in 2016.
“Drivers have had delays in their commutes or they have found alternate routes,” Cruz added. “Since we don’t know exactly where many of the drivers are coming from or going to, portable message signs in the roadway and getting the word out to local media to publish was important. We set up our messaging early and sent traffic advisories to local media outlets with personal follow up to make sure the news was shared.”
A good community outreach program has kept complaints to a minimum.
“Businesses have seen a fluctuation in traffic, but no complaints have been filed for loss of business due to the construction work,” Cruz said.
“We have maintained communication throughout the project, including preconstruction outreach,” Cruz continued. “We’ve done quite a bit of outreach to the community, from mass mailers, to door-to-door outreach, to visiting schools. Generally, people in the neighborhood support the project. Some, however, have felt [that] the medians are not enough to protect pedestrians and would like to see more done. Due to budget constraints, however, that is not feasible at this time.”
Local residents are vocal about the project. Cruz said that the community is highly sensitive to how work affects Piper’s Creek, which runs along the project area.
As of early September, crews had completed major sidewalk repairs, new ramps, bus shelter improvements, landscaping and paving work on Holman Road NW between 7th Avenue NW and Greenwood Avenue N. More grinding and paving allowed the project to wrap up by early October.
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