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Melissa Slager | streetsmarts@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Patches on U.S. 2 are safe, effective

Thomas MacArthur of Monroe writes: I sent an email to the DOT about the terrible repairs made to U.S. 2 between Snohomish and Monroe last summer, but I got no response back.

Last summer, DOT spent about three weeks putting down oil in patches and strips to then cover with pea gravel and we drive it into the cracks. Usually they do the whole surface to make it uniform when you drive on it.

Anyway, now we have a worse surface to drive on at 60 mph, with differing traction, and the car jumps all over as you try to drive. All-wheel-drive cars have a harder time of it than two-wheel-drive cars.

The road now has patches where one wheel will be on the patch and the other side of the car is on the old pavement.

These random strips come at you constantly and it is a challenge to stay in the lane. I got one chip in my window during the repair process, and now the cracks are all back. The repairs did not work and the road surface is a mess.

Who is in charge at DOT and makes these decisions? Do they ever go out and inspect the quality of the jobs they do? The only way to fix it now is re-surfacing the highway and smoothing it out.

It seems like a big waste of our money for roads, and the surface is more dangerous -- yes U.S. 2. even more dangerous.



Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Our maintenance crews reviewed the patch on U.S. 2 recently and said that while it may not look attractive, it is holding up well and is safe for travel.

Several of our staff actually commute on U.S. 2 regularly (in all-wheel-drive vehicles), and have reported that while the patch is noticeable, it doesn't affect steering. Because the patch is holding up well and not a safety concern, we have no plans to install warning signs.

The chip sealing work was done last summer as an effective, low-cost way to preserve the road surface and prevent pavement cracking.

You can find more information about WSDOT's pavement management program on our website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Business/MaterialsLab/Pavements.

Speed limit signs

Abigail Phelps of Arlington writes: I drive on 172nd Street NE (Highway 531) in Arlington every day. I am frustrated because although the speed limit is 50 mph, everyone seems to think it is 30 or 35. This is possibly because there is only one sign stating the speed limit in each direction, one westbound near the corner of 67th Avenue NE and 172nd, and one eastbound right before Walmart on 172nd.

Congestion in this area is already a problem because of the shopping district that has grown along 172nd west of I-5.

Would it really be that difficult for the (state) to add a few more speed limit signs on that road?



Mishler of the DOT responds: We agree with Abigail that the stretch of Highway 531 between the new Walmart and 67th Street NE could use a couple of more speed limit signs to let drivers know that it is 50 mph.

We've put in a work order and our crews will install the new signs later this spring.



Email us at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.



Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
Story tags » Highway 531Road RepairU.S. 2

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