Paving season is upon us, and the sweet stench of asphalt is in the air.
Snohomish County Public Works has kicked off its annual summer work list, which includes paving 11 miles and applying or preparing to chip seal 98 other miles of county roads.
All together, unincorporated areas of Arlington will see the most work this summer, with 17.3 miles in 20 locations getting some kind of upgrade. The Snohomish and Lake Goodwin areas also will see a dozen miles or more of work.
A typical paved road has a serviceable life of 15 to 30 years, depending on the location, traffic volumes, weather and truck or heavy vehicle usage, county staff say.
The county will resurface 57 roads, mostly in the south. Paving work will continue through October.
The longest jobs include a nearly 3-mile stretch of Jim Creek Road east of Highway 530 near Arlington, and a nearly 2-mile stretch of Locust Way, from Cypress Way south to the county line, near Brier.
Most of the county’s attention, however, is on extending the life of a roadway through chip seal.
Chip seal is a rough, but relatively cheap, way to extend the life of an aging roadway.
This year’s chip seal program includes work on 63 roads in south county and 74 roads in north county.
Much of the preparation started in April. Crews have been leveling 77 miles worth of roads to get them ready for chip seal, either this summer or next. Leveling work included filling potholes or improving uneven or failing pavement areas.
Chip seal work itself begins this month, starting in the south and working north. Chip seal jobs should wrap up by late August. Lower speeds will be required to help prevent flying pieces of rock.
Nearly every unincorporated area of the county has a chip seal job. This year, job locations near Lake Stevens, Monroe and Snohomish were pre-level only; chip seal should be applied next season.
All road work depends on fair weather. Individual communities will see signs and detours when their time comes.
More information is at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/resurfacing.
That’s just Snohomish County-maintained roadways. Other cities and the state have their own pavement preservation projects planned.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews already have started paving projects near Sultan, Marysville and Everett as part of $39 million in local summer road projects.
Keep track of current closures on state roadways at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/Snohomish/Construction.
Everett started on its paving list earlier this month. Work should wrap up by the end of July. Crews will grind down and remove old pavement, install new traffic detection wires, and repave and restripe roadways.
Roads coming up on the repaving list include Broadway, 41st Street, Beverly Boulevard, Colby Avenue, Hewitt Avenue, Lowell-Snohomish Road, E Casino Road, Seaway Boulevard and Hardeson Road, among many others.
A full list and scheduled work dates is at www.everettwa.gov/2017overlay.
And since it’s summer, be prepared for delays if you head out of town, too.
Lots of work is scheduled on interstates in the region, notably multi-summer projects on I-5 and I-90. And a 30-mile stretch of Highway 525 and Highway 20 on Whidbey Island is expected to last all season.
Take a deep breath — and try not to cough.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-339-3432