Sewer re-lining project snarls morning commute

Updated: As promised, Andy Ryan with Seattle Public Utilities has provided us a little more information about this morning’s project.

“We’re really sorry this happened,” Ryan starts off, “This shouldn’t have happened.” He tells us that the SPU contractor was supposed to be picked up and off the road by 7 a.m. but had to stay until 10 a.m. because of the curing process they used today.

Ryan says that there are two ways to fix a sewer line – dig it up and replace it or realign it. The most cost-effective thing is to reline the line with a resin product. In the past, crews have cured the resin using steam. Last night/this morning crews used a hot water method which took longer than expected. Admittedly, Ryan says, they needed 15 hours to do it right and were allotted less than that. The problem, he says, is once the crew is working on the line they are committed to finishing the project, they can’t just leave when the clock says it’s time to go.

SPU is looking closely at the communication breakdown to make sure this doesn’t happen again, Ryan says. Once the crew on the road knew they wouldn’t be done by 7 a.m. they should have alerted SPU, who would have gotten the word out to drivers and bicyclists using radio/TV traffic updates and the illuminated sign on Crown Hill.

Earlier:If you drove down 15th Ave this morning across the Ballard Bridge, chances are your commute took you much longer than normal.

“It took my 17 bus at least 20 minutes, maybe more, to move from near Shelter Lounge to onto the Ballard Bridge,” one person emailed. “It took an extra hour to get to work this morning,” another writes.

According to Andy Ryan with Seattle Public Utilities, a contractor doing sewer re-lining in the area ran into some complications. He says the overnight work they’re doing involves curing and the curing didn’t occur fast enough to get off the road by the morning commute. SPU is checking with the contractor for specifics and Ryan says he’ll get back to us with more details.

23 comments on “Sewer re-lining project snarls morning commute”

  1. Whatever happened to those bumper stickers I used to see stating: “I’m in NO hurry I’m on the way to work”? I thought taking things in stride was a “Ballard thing”? Here a nag there a nag everywhere a nag nag nag. Us unemployed didn’t miss a thing.

  2. Yes, my normal 30-minute commute on the 17X took 90 minutes this morning. But rave to the Metro bus drivers who wouldn’t charge us for the ride.

  3. Easy thing to say when you are sucking off the welfare/unemployment tit while us working class stress about losing our jobs because we are late to key meetings.

  4. You obviously were not stuck in this without any kind of warning (not sure if you are joking about being unemployed).

    It’s not that it happened, it’s that there was absolutely no indication of what was happening. All side streets were snarled by cars and busses blocking intersections, bikes darting in and out of cars (dangerous), and all kinds of crazy U-turns and frustrations.

    Contractor messed up hands down. Should have contacted SPD for assistence instead of being arrogant and deciding doing nothing was the best action to take. Lets hope they fire or fine the company that did this. I can’t imagine the cost this put on Seattle (gas, lost wages, missed meetings/work, etc).

  5. Was this the same group working in the middle of 15th at the south end of the bridge yesterday evening? They blocked off a southbound lane starting around 6PM, leading to stop-and-go traffic from the Ballard end all the way across the bridge, with NO SIGNS until you got to the actual blocked lane. A few signs indicating “Lane Closed Ahead” on the Ballard side would have worked wonders.

  6. I was only 20 minutes late, thanks to the resourceful driver of the 18 Express, who went off route through Fremont and the Aurora Bridge.

  7. yeah, that was some fun this AM. i thought, “i don’t remember any notices on the ol’ myBallard about this…”

    oh well, at least andy ryan was “really sorry it happened”. that helps.

  8. If you were late to a “key” meeting you’re not working class. You’re middle-management middle-class and your job is probably a joke. I don’t have “key” meetings at work, because I do real work all day. I am the working class.

  9. so if they needed 15 hours, and Ryan admits they were never allotted enough time … who’s communication breakdown was this really?

  10. Sucks to the people at the 15th and Leary stop that got to watch their bus fly by.

  11. You can look forward to this being the norm once the mayor wrecks state highway 99. Roads? Nah, we don’t need ’em!

  12. I’m so glad we have quality transit system that whose functions are uninhibited by traffic fluctuations!!

  13. I’m so glad we have a quality transit system that functions uninhibited by traffic fluctuations!!

  14. Real work. Man’s work. Manly mannish real work. Sweaty, manly work. Men working on manly work. Real men doing real work…

  15. The left side of the bridge was clear (for the most part) maybe a head light or two if you didn’t time it right.

  16. I appreciate Andy Ryan’s responsiveness and openess about what went wrong. It’s hard to be the guy who admits your people fucked up, and it’s easy to bullshit away blame. Andy’s stepped up. I’ve been consistently amazed by Seattle government staff who take the community seriously and engage with us as a peer rather than as the stereotypical aloof bureaucrat you encounter in most other places.
    Andy, if you read this: Keep your head up. You are making our wonderful city better!

  17. Perhaps Ted can get a promotion to the gutter and do manly work with you there.

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