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Road work begins on Kirkland arterials, neighborhood streets

Watson Asphalt laborer T Pelayo digs around a water main utility Monday on 120th Avenue Northeast as part of the lowering iron process, in which he and fellow crew members prepare the arterial for overlay later this week. - City of Kirkland
Watson Asphalt laborer T Pelayo digs around a water main utility Monday on 120th Avenue Northeast as part of the lowering iron process, in which he and fellow crew members prepare the arterial for overlay later this week.
— image credit: City of Kirkland

Kirkland’s overlay contractor began prep work today on 120th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 112th Street, two of the six arterials scheduled for overlay this summer. To prepare for the grinding, patching and repaving that will take place on these two streets in the next few weeks, Watson Asphalt’s laborers this morning were “lowering iron,” a process that removes the exposed four to five inches of sewer, water and stormwater utility iron.

“We’ll probably do 30 to 40 of them today,” said Chris Schroeder, a Watson Asphalt’s heavy equipment operator.

In addition to 120th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 112th Street, the city will also resurface sections of Lake Washington Boulevard, 124th and 132nd streets, as well as 132nd Avenue Northeast. By November, 11.8 lane miles of the city’s more traveled streets will have new asphalt surfaces—double what the city was able to resurface prior to the passage of the 2012 Streets Levy.

Northeast 112th Street is getting more than a new surface. Kirkland is adding bike lanes and a crosswalk island to Northeast 112th Street, as well. The westbound bike lanes will extend from 120th Avenue Northeast to 116th Place Northeast. The eastbound bike lanes will extend from 116th Place Northeast to the yet-to-be-installed pedestrian islands at the Cross Kirkland Corridor. There, the bike lanes will taper into a shared lane, which the city will mark for both bicycles and automobiles. Together, these pedestrian and cycling features will enhance the connection between this southwest quadrant of Totem Lake and the Cross Kirkland Corridor, the 5.75-mile-long walking and cycling trail, which the city began improving this month.

To enhance that connection, however, the project will have to remove the two-way, left-turn lane that begins at 116th Place and continues to the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

Northeast 124th Street is another arterial that will receive a new surface this construction season. And it will be completed by three different projects—most likely at three different times.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will resurface the freeway overpass—probably during the August 8 weekend as part of its I-405 widening project. Construction of the Cross Kirkland Corridor’s interim trail includes the resurfacing of its intersection with Northeast 124th Street—as well as removing the rails that are embedded there. Kirkland’s street overlay program will complete the rest. By the end of the year, these three projects will provide a new surface for Kirkland’s second-most traveled arterial, carrying nearly 37,000 vehicles every day.

Earlier this summer, Kirkland’s street maintenance crews resurfaced one lane of Northeast 132nd Street beneath Interstate 405.

In August, the city of Kirkland is also preserving nearly 30 lane miles of neighborhood roads. Those roads are in the Market, Norkirk, Bridle Trails and South Rose Hill neighborhoods. The material used in this process is a mixture of emulsified asphalt and small aggregate consisting of tiny pieces of gravel and sand. This is “slurry seal.” Slurry seal can extend by five to eight years the lives of neighborhood roads that are already in good condition at a cost of roughly $1,600 per city block.

“Slurry seal is not structural,” Kirkland Streets Engineer George Minassian said. “It is only a preservation tool.”

The city uses slurry seal on its less traveled roads and on neighborhood access streets that have not already deteriorated.

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