State has its eye on bumpy highway work

Beverly Ball of Granite Falls writes: There is a fairly new Catholic church on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens. They started road work in front of the church last year. The work was finished and the road is terrible!

It is very bumpy and it throws your car everywhere. The road should be repaved to smooth it out before someone gets seriously hurt.

Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Beverly is referring to the new Holy Cross Parish Catholic Church on Highway 92 between Lake Stevens and Granite Falls. As part of the project, the church was required to mitigate its traffic impacts by widening the highway along its property. The widening, which included adding a new eastbound right-turn lane and repaving the eastbound through lane, was done by a contractor hired by the church.

After the widening and repaving were completed, our inspectors became aware of problems with the new roadway surface. Because of the extent of the problems, we required the church’s contractor to return to the project and repair the pavement at its expense. In late November specialized equipment was brought to the site and the uneven surface was reworked until it fell within transportation department guidelines.

As with any roadway improvement project provided by a third party, the state required a bond from the church. The bond will be held for a period of 12 months from the date work is completed. We’ll continue to monitor the roadway and if the surface deteriorates, we can ask the contractor to return to the site and make repairs, or use the bond money and make repairs with state crews or with a contractor we hire.

Mary Chesnut of Everett writes: I have a question about streetlights. I walk from home to the Mariner park-and-ride lot at 13102 Fourth Ave. W. and back in the mornings and evenings. I walk on the north side of 128th Street SW because there are street lights and I feel safer under the lights.

However, as I walk from E. Gibson Road to Eighth Avenue W., the streetlights go out. These include the light above a bus stop where people are waiting for a bus around Ninth Avenue.

Is there something wrong with the lights or are they programmed that way? If so, why would street lights be programmed to turn off?

Dave Lindemuth of the street lighting department of the Snohomish County Public Utility District responds: I’ve asked to have these lights replaced. We are replacing all 36,000-plus of our HPS (high-pressure sodium) fixtures with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) over the next few years, starting in the outermost parts of our service area.

We have already completed the replacements on Camano Island and are focusing on the northern portion of Snohomish County. Since we are purchasing LED exclusively, we are also replacing any failed HPS fixture regardless of its location. We expect the entire change-out project to take about five years.

The LED technology offers many advantages. In addition to better light quality, LED fixtures use less power, last much longer and require less maintenance than HPS installations. They also allow tighter control over the light pattern and produce more diffused, even light levels along the roadways. The unit cost of the LED fixtures has dropped to a point where the investment makes economic sense.

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

Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.

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