King County expects layoffs, reduced road maintenance

August 24, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Aug. 24, 2012

King County expects to lay off 54 road workers and officials said the lack of attention on roads could mean further deterioration.

Officials also plan to leave 11 vacant jobs unfilled — for a total reduction of 65 jobs in the county Road Services Division — due to a drop in tax revenues. The reduction is expected to go into effect early next year, as the 2013 budget goes into effect.

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the reductions Thursday. The loss of funding could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

The county is responsible for about 1,500 miles of roadway, but the reduction in revenue means less maintenance, especially roads in rural areas.

Read more

County to make safety improvements near Liberty High School

June 19, 2012

King County road crews plan to make safety improvements near Liberty High School soon.

The county King County Road Services Division received federal grant funding to complete the project east of Renton. Crews plan to restripe the westbound lanes at the intersection of 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 128th Avenue Street — north of Liberty.

Get involved

Submit comments about the project by June 29 to Community Relations, King County Department of Transportation by phone at 206-263-9770, by email to community.relations@kingcounty.gov or by mail to 201 S. Jackson St., MS: KSC-TR-0824, Seattle, WA 98104.

Learn more about the project at www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/Construction/ConstructionProjectsOther/HighwaySafetyProgram.aspx.

Plans also call for the existing traffic signal to be changed to provide a left-turn signal. Expect improved pedestrian facilities to result from the project, too.

Officials expect the changes to reduce the number and severity of rear-end collisions involving motorists waiting to turn left from Southeast 128th Avenue Street onto 168th Avenue Southeast.

In the existing arrangement, a curve limits the visibility of vehicles stopped in the inside westbound lane. Advance warning signs and flashers located east of the intersection should help alert westbound motorists of changes and the need to merge to the right.

Construction is expected to begin by September and be completed by the end of the year. Students return to Liberty and other Issaquah School District campuses Sept. 4.

No full road closure is expected as crews complete the work. Expect to see project signs on the approaches to the intersection to alert motorists a few weeks prior to the start of construction.

King County to make safety improvements near Liberty High School

June 14, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 14, 2012

King County road crews plan to make safety improvements near Liberty High School soon.

The county King County Road Services Division received federal grant funding to complete the project east of Renton. Crews plan to restripe the westbound lanes at the intersection of 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 128th Avenue Street — located north of Liberty.

Plans also call for the the existing traffic signal to be changed to provide a left-turn signal. Expect improved pedestrian facilities to result from the project, too.

Officials expect the changes to reduce the number and severity of rear-end collisions involving motorists waiting to turn left from Southeast 128th Avenue Street onto 168th Avenue Southeast.

Read more

King County plans to remove Preston trees, install guardrails

May 29, 2012

King County road crews plan to remove hazardous trees along a Preston road throughout the summer.

The removal is included in the annual Countywide Guardrail Program to improve roadside safety for drivers. Crews then plan to install guardrails in the area this fall.

The trees sit in King County road right of way. Officials identified the trees as hazardous because some could fall across the road or onto utility lines, many block sightlines for drivers on curves and hills, and others have a history of being struck by vehicles on numerous occasions.

Officials identified about 17 trees for removal on both sides of 308th Avenue Southeast on Mitchell Hill between Southeast 87th Place and Southeast 64th Street.

Citizens interested in learning more about the tree removal or guardrail installation can contact the county Department of Transportation at 206-263-9770 or community.relations@kingcounty.gov.

King County crews start roadside weed control soon

March 27, 2012

King County road crews plan to roll out a roadside weed control program in unincorporated areas April 9.

Through the annual program, certified technicians conduct controlled herbicide spraying along road shoulders during the spring and summer. The program is meant to reduce safety hazards for bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

The spraying also controls noxious weeds — a potential threat to animals and native vegetation.

If residents do not want county crews to spray the county right of way near their property, they should post “owner will maintain” signs. The owners must also agree to maintain the right of way themselves. Maintenance agreements must be completed and returned to the county Road Services Division before the signs can be issued.

Read more

King County crews launch roadside weed control program

March 9, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. March 9, 2012

King County road crews plan to roll out a roadside weed control program in unincorporated areas April 9.

Through the annual program, certified technicians conduct controlled herbicide spraying along road shoulders during the spring and summer. The program is meant to reduce safety hazards for bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

The spraying also controls noxious weeds — a potential threat to animals and native vegetation.

If residents do not want county crews to spray the county right of way near their property, they should post “owner will maintain” signs. The owners must also agree to maintain the right of way themselves. Maintenance agreements must be completed and returned to the county Road Services Division before the signs can be issued.

Read more

Fallen trees prompt latest Preston road closure

January 25, 2012

NEW — 7:30 a.m. Jan. 25, 2012

Downed trees prompted a road closure in rural Preston, King County transportation officials announced Wednesday morning.

The road closure at 308th Avenue Southeast, at mile south of Southeast 64th Street, is about two miles north from the Preston Athletic Fields & Park.

King County Road Services Division officials did not offer estimates for reopening in the 6:30 a.m. update.

The closure occurred after strong winds caused another round of power outages across the region, less than a week after residents in the Issaquah area and throughout Western Washington faced icy conditions and lengthy power outages following a snowstorm and rare ice storm.

County transportation officials urged motorists to monitor the road closure list throughout the day for updates about the Preston closure and other issues.

Snowplow crews toil day and night to clear Issaquah streets

January 24, 2012

Come winter, the nonstop struggle between man and Mother Nature unfolds in a teeth-rattling ride aboard city snowplows.

Kyle Patterson, a city snowplow driver, maneuvers through the Montreux neighborhood to remove snow from streets Tuesday afternoon. By Warren Kagarise

Snow, split into quarters from tire tracks, clung to the streets just before sunset Jan. 17 in Montreux, a tony neighborhood on Cougar Mountain named for a city in the Swiss Alps. In methodical maneuvers, city snowplow driver Kyle Patterson edged back and forth along cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac, pushing snow from the roadway to form dirt-flecked berms along the street.

In the process, snow cascades from the plow and light powder is compacted into something more akin to spackle.

Each large snowplow truck in the city fleet resembles a mustard-yellow box atop gargantuan tires, a Tonka toy for a giant. Empty, a large truck tips the scales at about 30,000 pounds. Loaded, full of sand and de-icing fluid, the total balloons to about 60,000 pounds.

(The city operates seven snowplow trucks, a larger model for main roads and a smaller model for difficult-to-maneuver side streets.)

The drivers, dressed in fluorescent jackets the same color as a highlighter pen, ride in the snowplow cabs beneath a flashing amber light. Most drivers use earplugs to block noise from the rumbling engine and brakes screeching like a pterodactyl.

The job requires a nimble hand on the steering wheel and the levers used to manipulate the plow — not to mention patience, precision and pluck — for the lumbering trucks remain susceptible to the same road hazards as other vehicles, despite the bulk and chains meant to ensure traction.

Read more

Fire destroys Tiger Mountain home, dogs perish

January 24, 2012

Flames sparked by a generator in a garage caused a blaze and destroyed a Tiger Mountain house near Issaquah.

Read more

Some Issaquah customers face wait for power restoration

January 22, 2012

NEW — 12:40 p.m. Jan. 22, 2012

Some Puget Sound Energy customers in the Issaquah area could remain without power until late Wednesday evening, as utility crews continue the arduous cleanup from crippling winter storms last week.

Customers in Issaquah and unincorporated King County communities — Hobart and Preston — face the longest waits for restoration, late Wednesday evening.

Power is expected to be restored in Mirrormont on Tiger Mountain by early Monday evening.

In a proposed restoration timeline released Saturday evening, Bellevue-based PSE said communities in forested or remote areas face the longest waits.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »