Seattle’s response to winter weather, final phase of West Seattle Bridge repairs recap

In case you missed it, we’re sharing some top highlights from the SDOT Blog last month. Here are some of the top blog posts from January.

1) Winter storm recap: How we responded in challenging conditions

In January, we worked hard to respond to and recover from the recent winter storms and repair potholes across the city. We want to thank everyone for your continued patience and support as we work to complete this higher-than-usual winter weather response effort.

Our crews work to clear access to a Seattle Streetcar station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Photo credit: SDOT 

We prepare year-round for all types of challenging weather conditions. When snowfall and accumulation was forecasted for Seattle in late December, we mobilized our 24/7 emergency response operation, many of our crew members changed their holiday family plans to return to work, and we began pre-treating streets along snowplow routes before the first snow arrived.

Once snow began to accumulate, our crew members completed many 12-hour shifts during the day and at night, including driving snowplows, clearing and de-icing downtown sidewalks and protected bike lanes, hand-shoveling curb ramps, and ensuring safe conditions for people walking, rolling, and biking at bus stops, public stairways, and pedestrian overpasses and bridges.

We also appreciate the crucial support and teamwork from Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle Parks & Recreation workers to help respond to the winter weather, as part of our One Seattle response!

2) We filled 15,000 potholes in 2021, but winter storms are wreaking havoc on our roads. Thank you for your patience as we work to fix the new potholes. 

SDOT crews filling several potholes on Greenwood Ave N near N 100th St on Thursday, January 13, 2022. 
SDOT crews filling several potholes on Greenwood Ave N near N 100th St on Thursday, January 13, 2022. Photo: SDOT

Our crews work year-round to fill potholes in streets all across Seattle. In 2021, we filled over 15,000 potholes citywide. Winter storms cause substantial damage to our roads and cause previously filled potholes to re-appear throughout Seattle. After it rains or snows, we typically receive a surge of requests to fill them, which we track and respond to as quickly as we can.

As such, we received a flurry of pothole reports from the community after the recent snow melted. We’ve been working as hard as possible to fill them — in January alone, we filled about 5,000 potholes! — but it takes time to repair the damage, especially when the storms led to more appearing every day. Thank you for your patience, and for reporting potholes when you see them (please see our recent pothole response blog post, which includes several ways to easily report potholes)!

3) We responded quickly to landslides in West Seattle to ensure public safety and restore a key travel route along Highland Park Way SW

In addition to plowing snow, treating ice, and filling potholes, our crews responded to several landslides as heavy rain and saturated soils were met with high winds in January. After two landslides occurred in West Seattle along sections of Highland Park Way SW, our crews quickly responded to safely close the street and sidewalk to ensure public safety, create temporary detour routes, assess the damage, and work to clear and safely re-open the street as soon as possible.

We kept the public informed along the way via our blog, social media channels, and working with local media outlets to share updates. The area was safely re-opened after the street and sidewalk were determined to be safe for the traveling public.

An SDOT vehicle removes debris on Highland Park Way SW
We worked to assess, clear, and safely re-open Highland Park Way SW in West Seattle following two recent landslides caused by heavy rain, high winds, and saturated soils. Photo credit: SDOT 

There have also been some exciting developments with the West Seattle Bridge!

4) West Seattle Bridge team lifted the first work platforms over the weekend to help advance final bridge repairs

This short time-lapse video shows the lifting of the final two temporary work platforms that will provide access for repairs to the West Seattle Bridge. The video was taken on Saturday, January 29. Video credit: SDOT. 

We hoisted four hanging work platforms to the underside of the West Seattle Bridge so we can work on the exterior of the bridge during the final phase of repairs this year. The work platforms are essential for our final phase of bridge rehabilitation because they provide temporary workspace and safe access for crews to use while they inject epoxy to seal cracks and wrap carbon-fiber for added strength on the underside of the bridge. The platforms are being positioned in four locations, approximately 120 feet above ground. The bridge is scheduled to re-open in mid-2022.

We also enjoyed hearing from local author and illustrator, Susanna Ryan, about how walking can bring a whole new perspective and serve as a great way to more fully experience Seattle!

5) Roadside Chat | Meet Susanna Ryan, author of the Seattle Walk Report!

A comic from the Seattle Walk Report showcasing an extra-long 30 mile walk from Seattle to the Eastside – and the many sights encountered along the way.
A comic from the Seattle Walk Report showcasing an extra-long 30 mile walk from Seattle to the Eastside – and the many sights encountered along the way. Artwork credit: Susanna Ryan 

Often during our daily lives, we tend to overlook some of the unique characteristics that define Seattle’s most lively neighborhoods. Susanna Ryan, local author and illustrator of the Seattle Walk Report and Secret Seattle, uncovers some of these special attributes and oddities during her daily walks around town.

Ryan’s illustrated walking tour in Seattle Walk Report (available on Instagram and in book format) highlights Seattle’s fascinating history while taking note of new and old sights, findings, and feelings that arise – like that all too familiar feeling of rocks in your shoes. We recently spoke with Susanna about what inspired her book, and how walking can bring a whole new perspective to experiencing Seattle!

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