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Melissa Slager | streetsmarts@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Repaving helps avoid more costly roadwork

Chris Luscher of Everett writes: I'm wondering why Mukilteo Boulevard is being repaved.

The asphalt that was replaced incrementally in recent years was in very good condition, and it seems that such a large expenditure is unnecessary.

Additionally, the quality of the new pavement laid down last fall seems marginal. For example, there are tar blobs over a significant stretch of pavement, and the transition from old to new pavement in a few areas isn't smooth. Also, the new pavement is noticeably wavy in places. It appears the striping of the new pavement has resulted in narrower vehicle lanes and wider bike lanes, but what is really needed is a sidewalk through the residential area surrounding Howarth Park that was recently paved. It seems the funds used to replace the existing pavement could have been better used to address safety issues by merely re-striping and installing a sorely needed sidewalk.

Everett city engineer Ryan Sass responds: The city of Everett has a long-term pavement maintenance and rehabilitation plan. This plan takes a comprehensive look at road conditions citywide and anticipates needed maintenance for the next 10 years. Keeping pavement maintained before it becomes overly distressed allows us to keep it in good condition virtually indefinitely. This is achieved by various methods including surface treatments and overlays.

As pavement becomes more distressed, with lots of easily visible cracks, the damage to the roadway is much deeper, extending through the layers of pavement and into the sub-grade layers.

Repairing, restoring and rebuilding damaged roadways is much more expensive than maintaining them. If a city gets behind on maintaining roads it can quickly become too expensive to ever restore them to good condition citywide. Our challenge with respect to pavement is to use our maintenance dollars wisely to avoid major reconstruction costs as much as possible.

Your observation is correct, the lanes of travel were slightly narrowed and the bike lanes slightly widened. This has resulted in better speed compliance on this section of Mukilteo Boulevard.

Thomas Hoban of Tulalip writes: On Snohomish County-maintained Mission Beach Road on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, there may be two missing speed-alert signs.

Approaching the sewage treatment plant across from the cemetery, there is a "Reduce Speed Ahead" sign but no signs beyond that. In the past a 15 mph sign cautioned drivers to slow as they turned west, then another 25 mph sign was posted soon after. Both are gone and drivers continue with 35 mph speeds. This is a residential area with many people crossing the road to get to the beach. The speeds need more control.

Owen Carter, Snohomish County engineer, responds: I have requested a work order to replace the missing signs and to do an inspection to see if other signs are warranted. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

E-mail us at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
Story tags » EverettTulalipRoad RepairTraffic Safety

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