2 Mill Creek neighborhoods to get rough-riding roads repaved

MILL CREEK — The City Council agreed at its July 25 meeting to proceed with grinding and repaving chip-sealed streets in two older neighborhoods this summer despite problems with stormwater pipes that will mean portions of the new pavement are ripped up again later.

“Patches are small compared to what we’ve been living through the past year,” Bundie Olsen said last week in a phone call from her home in the Wildflower neighborhood.

Road crews last summer applied chip seal to streets in the Wildflower and Mill Park Village neighborhoods. The treated roads ride rough. Rocks still come loose a year later. And residents find the surface treatment ill-suited for quiet neighborhood streets used by children on bicycles.

City staff blamed shoddy workmanship by Snohomish County and have been seeking a solution since.

Both neighborhoods will be repaved. The work is scheduled for Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 and will be done by a contractor working for Snohomish County.

“This was an opportunity to offset an unintended error and do the right thing,” Councilman Mark Bond said.

Olsen was at the July 25 meeting, but didn’t expect the decision to come.

“I was shocked — pleasantly,” she said.

Before the meeting, Bundie and her husband, Allen, handed out round pieces of wood to council members, urging city leaders to “get around to it.”

Several neighbors, as well as board members from the Mill Creek Community Association, also turned out.

An inspection of storm water pipes earlier this summer threw repaving into question.

Engineers with Perteet found 13 segments of pipe that need “immediate” repair, within one to two years. A consultant gave a presentation on the findings at the July 25 meeting.

Both pipe repairs and repaving require dry summer weather — and there is not enough time to do both this year, city staff say.

After presentations and estimates, the council asked those gathered what they preferred: To fix the road this summer, then tear up and patch portions next summer to fix the pipes? Or to fix the pipes first and put off repaving another year, as the consulting engineer recommended?

A majority called for repaving first.

After attending meeting after meeting over the past year, Bundie Olsen said she remained silent, letting others give their answers — but she was pleased with the consensus.

“We get to have our road torn up twice, but it’s going to be fixed,” she said. “It’s a real victory.”

It will cost an estimated $250,000 to repave the roads in both neighborhoods — seven times the cost of the chip-seal jobs.

Fixing the pipes is expected to cost another $230,000; details and a dates for that work will be determined later as part of an update to the city’s capital improvement plan. The city at that time also will address older chip seal jobs in other neighborhoods, including Heatherwood West, which also require pipe repairs.

Melissa Slager: streetsmarts@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3432.

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