Have you all noticed that the amount of road construction and repair projects this summer are seemingly worse than usual? That snowy winter probably didn’t help much as it likely has contributed to a larger than average repair cycle this summer. Couple that with a robust building industry and we have the recipe for road delays that we all are tasting right now.
Our winters are not as brutal as those found in the upper Midwest or even what is endured just east of the Cascades right here in our Evergreen State. But we do not have proper conditions for paving in the wintertime. Asphalt needs to paved during dry conditions for which we have very limited days of such in the winter months. It also needs to be fairly warm. Thin repair jobs need 45°-55° temperatures to properly lay the asphalt and we rarely see any extended periods above 50° in December and January. Even heavy asphalt jobs laying down 3-4 inches of new pavement are limited to temperatures in the middle 30s.
In the wintertime we are either cool and wet, cold and snowy, or dry and colder. So our paving has to come during the warmer half of the year. Those winters where we get an extended cold spell with snow and ice on the ground for days on end, like we had this past winter, leads to serious crumbling and cracking of paved surfaces. That means lots to repair in the summer on top of any new construction going on.
So it has been a challenge getting around all of these construction zones lately. Over the weekend WSDOT had Padden Parkway closed Eastbound from SR-503 all the way to 162nd Avenue. You could not cross Padden either unless you used the 130th Overpass near Heritage High School. That of course does not conveniently connect to any of the thoroughfares. and when you finally reach 99th you couldn’t go left due to a closure of 99th Street all the way back to SR-503.
Holy detours, Batman! Where do we go now? This was the scene all across the fruited plain this summer as road crews worked diligently to pave the busted up surfaces from a relentless snowy cold winter and doubled down to give us the new projects we all deserve.
Ah, the ‘Couv’ life; it is good, now a little better with a bunch a fresh pavement.