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First Avenue South Paving Project FAQs

1. Why is First Avenue S being repaved?

First Avenue S corridor is an important part of Seattle’s Center City transportation system. It is one of the primary arterial leading into and out from the Center City area. Due to heavy use over the years First Avenue S’s paving is in poor condition.

As part of the Bridging the Gap Transportation Levy passed by Seattle voters in 2006, funding has been set aside to repair and repave the arterials. In addition, the paving of First Avenue S is part of a larger program to prepare the primary north and south connectors in the downtown core for increased traffic during major construction on the Alaskan Way Viaduct (Central Waterfront section). First Avenue S is being paved in advance of the SR519 project and the south end construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, scheduled to begin in late 2009.


2. What is the scope of the project?

First Avenue S will be repaved in segments in 2008 and 2009. The segments from S Dearborn Street/Railroad Way S to S Stacy Street and S Spokane Street to E Marginal Way S will be repaved in 2008. The segment between S Stacy Street and S Horton Street will be repaved in 2009. The segment from S Horton Street to S Spokane Street will be repaved as part of the Spokane Street Widening and 4 th Avenue Off-ramp projects between 2009 – 2011 (see the project flyer for a map). The work in 2008 includes grinding and removing the top layer of existing asphalt, repairing portions of the base beneath the asphalt, and overlaying with new asphalt. New curb ramps will be installed or upgraded to meet current standards. In 2009, First Avenue S will be completely reconstructed.


3. When will the corridor be repaved?

Weather is a major factor in determining when particular projects can be constructed. The months of April through October are the best months for construction in Seattle. Paving especially needs the predictability of the fairly warm and dry conditions offered only during that time period. As a result, First Avenue S paving in 2008 will take place between May and October 2008. Construction is expected to start around the middle of May 2008. The contractor will be starting in the north end of the project area and working south.


4. How will this project benefit me?

New pavement makes quieter, smoother and safer travel for bicyclists, cars and pedestrians. Drivers can focus on their driving instead of avoiding potholes. New markings are more visible to drivers day and night ensuring a safer and more efficient flow of traffic. Pedestrian access and safety will be improved as curb ramps are upgraded, and a crosswalk is improved.


5. How long will the work last?

The first portion of the project will last approximately six months from beginning to end. However, not all of First Avenue S will be under construction at the same time. The contractor's work will progress through the area in a logical manner, to allow for the most efficient use of time. We will distribute a more detailed schedule of work when it becomes available. In 2009, work will likely begin in January and continue into the summer.



6. What can I expect during construction?

The construction will create noise, vibrations and dust. This project will also require temporary lane closures, pedestrian detours and parking restrictions. There will be no traffic disruptions during major sports events at the stadiums (Qwest and Safeco). In 2009, the traffic disruptions will be more significant. More detailed information will become available this summer.


7. What are the work hours?

Work hours will generally be 7a.m. – 4p.m., with occasional grinding and paving at night and on weekends. The work zones are often set up and taken down each day in the area of work where the contractors are working, although some work requires lane closures for 24 hours.


8. What about noise?

This project will generate significant noise at times, especially when pavement breaking is necessary. Night work will also generate some noise however pavement breaking is prohibited after 10 pm.


9. Will I have access to my business?

Access to businesses will be maintained throughout construction. There will be some isolated times when a driveway will have to be temporarily closed. This will be discussed individually with the affected property owner/business manager in advance of the closure to minimize the impact.


10. Will there be lane closures along First Avenue S?

Yes. Lane closures along First Avenue S can be anticipated. We will make every effort to keep as many lanes open in the peak direction at the peak times.

Lane closures create safe work zones. Parking, travel lane, and pedestrian restrictions may be required to promote safe and efficient movement through the work zone. (There may not always be work going on everywhere behind the barrels/cones but the zone is part of a larger traffic control set up to ensure safety).


11. Will there be sidewalk closures?

Sidewalk closures/detours will occur. During curb ramp sidewalk and sidewalk work, the contractor is required to keep pedestrian access available, even if it might mean going to the opposite side of the street and back for crossing.


12. How do I report issues or problems?

Issues and/or problems can be reported to George Frost, Public Outreach Coordinator, at 615-0786 or


13. What forms of communication will be used to notify business owners?

SDOT will employ a variety of communication methods to notify businesses and other affected parties along First Avenue S. These include a project website, door-to-door outreach and regular construction notices.

SDOT is working closely with property management companies and transportation coordinators of major employers and businesses to alert business owners of this and other upcoming construction projects. SDOT‘s Public Outreach Coordinator and Project Manager work together to assure distribution of information promptly and to respond to questions from nearby businesses and residents.

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