Man-made potholes on the county fix-it list

Ron Hough of Mill Creek writes: I frequently travel 164th Street SW between Mill Creek and Lynnwood. The eastbound right lane has many metal-covered utility portals in the roadway and many seem to be an inch or two below the level of the pavement, resulting in “man-made potholes.”

They are irritating to drivers, potentially damaging to cars, and also dangerous as drivers weave back and forth into the adjacent lane and the bike lane trying to avoid the bumps. The worst location is from North Road down the hill into Mill Creek.

Owen Carter, chief engineer for Snohomish County, responds: Our road maintenance crews noticed the same problem Ron did, and patched the problem areas this week. Crews filled potholes in the driving lanes as well as the “man-made” potholes that cropped up around the metal utility covers.

Starting later this year, our public works department will begin a project to repave the entire stretch of 164th Street SW from just east of I-5 to the Bothell-Everett Highway (Highway 527).

Crews will permanently repair the road surface before putting down new asphalt, which should significantly reduce the need for costly maintenance repairs and help the pavement last well into the future. That project will continue into next spring and summer. Find more information online at, search “164th St. preservation.”

Jerald Coffell of Everett writes: With the warm weather finally having arrived, it is once again motorcycle season. My issue is with stoplights that will not change for motorcycles.

The problem is more severe with small motorcycles or motor scooters as I am guessing they just don’t have enough weight to be recognized by underground triggers. I have altered my route a few times to avoid the lights that won’t change, but sometimes I am stuck at one with no way to get around it.

An example is Casino Road at Evergreen Way. Heading westbound trying to cross Evergreen Way, there is no way for a small motorcycle or motor scooter to get the light to change. You must wait for a car to arrive for the light to recognize a vehicle as being present. At least this is the way it was operating last year.

The old trick of jumping off your bike, running over and hitting the crosswalk button doesn’t work here either as there is no crosswalk on the north side. Most of the time there is enough traffic so your wait is not long but some days it may take many frustrating light cycles before a vehicle large enough to trigger the light arrives.

I know budgets are tight but I hope something can be done about this problem.

Tim Miller, traffic engineer for the city of Everett, responds: The city of Everett strives to ensure even small scooters and bicycles can be detected by our traffic signals. When notified of the need to improve the detection for such users, we use a bicycle to test the detection system and make adjustments as needed. Then we put a cycle detection symbol on the pavement in each lane where bikes and motorcycles will be best detected. These are white markings that look like a person riding a bicycle with a stripe above and below.

If you stop your motorcycle with the part containing the most metal over this mark you are certain to receive detection. In the case of the location you mentioned, such markings were installed last year. We checked the detection system again this week, and it worked fine with our test bicycle.

Should you encounter any other locations of concern, please let us know and we’ll tune them and put in the cycle detection symbols to make your riding experience more enjoyable.

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