Orange metal plates spanning a lane on Broadway in Everett are covering voids like this one, discovered during the Wetmore Avenue emergency bypass project. All that remained of the original wooden pipe were the metal rings that surrounded it. (City of Everett)

Orange metal plates spanning a lane on Broadway in Everett are covering voids like this one, discovered during the Wetmore Avenue emergency bypass project. All that remained of the original wooden pipe were the metal rings that surrounded it. (City of Everett)

Why those annoying steel plates are on Broadway in Everett

They cover voids left by a disintegrated wooden pipe. It could be weeks before they’re filled.

A pair of large, construction-orange steel plates have interrupted the flow of traffic in the right lane of northbound Broadway in Everett between 36th and 35th streets for weeks now.

Drivers swerve around them at the last minute, sometimes not even bothering to slow down, sometimes straying off the roadway to do it. The plates make for some uncomfortable bumps in the road, for sure, and some of us have altered our commute simply to avoid them.

What are they for, and when will they finally go away?

Everett Public Works spokeswoman Kathleen Baxter provided the answer: “The orange steel plates are covering a void left by a disintegrated wood stave pipe, part of the old original water transmission line 1. The water maintenance division is working to get a contractor out to fill the void with concrete slurry. It is estimated that it will take 36 yards of concrete to fill this void.”

That’s a lot of concrete.

Up to five concrete trucks’ worth, to be exact.

The one-day job has yet to be set. The city is still identifying who will do the work. But the repair job will likely be completed before the week of Thanksgiving, Baxter said.

“The preferred repair method is somewhat specialized because it requires the void to be filled in such a way that the concrete doesn’t go into other pipes or areas where it is not intended to go,” she said.

Crews found a similar void during the Wetmore Avenue emergency bypass project. That pipe also had been part of the original 24-inch water transmission line 1. The wooden pipe itself was long gone. All that remained were the metal coupling rings that used to surround the pipe.

“Sometimes roads have been constructed over the top of abandoned pipes. When those pipes were made of wood, they eventually disintegrate. In some cases, they were filled before constructing over them. In some cases, such as this, they were not,” Baxter said. “There are many things to find underneath the roadways …”

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