May Valley Road traffic will get worse before it gets better
July 29, 2014
By Peter Clark
Southeast May Valley Road has been down to only one lane near the 22500 block for months, and it may stay like that for a while.
A March downpour led to a landslide and damaged the road, causing pavement to crack and settle, according to the King County Department of Transportation website. For safety reasons, the county closed the road and installed a temporary signal to shift traffic.
“This was kind of an act of God,” King County road engineer Rick Brater said. “After the prolonged rains we got last winter, we start to see these slides happen. We have a lot of roads that are old, and it’s in these areas where we have found unsteady ground.”
He said lack of county maintenance or faulty barriers were not responsible for the pavement damage.
“It was the result of heavy rainwater and induced by groundwater,” Brater said. “It was not triggered by the road service.”
King County designates Southeast May Valley Road as a Tier 1 road and a “lifeline route,” leading to prioritize a repair project. The county’s website said work would include construction of a stabilizing wall, pavement restoration, guardrail replacement and a telephone pole relocation.
That work has not yet started.
“We’re looking to begin construction in early 2015,” Brater said.
He said the project would take two months to complete and during that time, the traffic situation will worsen.
“We will have to close the whole of the road for the construction,” Brater said. “There will be pretty significant detours, which we are still working out.”
Currently, a “geotechnical investigation is underway” and county officials were expecting a preliminary repair design to be completed in July, according to the Department of Transportation website.
Until the repair is complete, the southern lane will remained closed for safety reasons.