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Project description

As part of its Microsurfacing Program, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) in currently performing maintenance in the Arbor Heights neighborhood of southwest West Seattle. From August 18-26, crews will apply a protective seal coat on many neighborhood streets. This protective sealing, referred to as “microsurfacing,” is a cost-effective method to renew the road surface. Microsurfacing creates a protective layer that preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future.

Please note: The map below has been updated to reflected minor schedule adjustments.  Thanks to the Arbor Heights community for their attention and cooperation as we work to maintain the residential streets of Arbor Heights.

How it will work

First, the roadway will be cleared from the edge of pavement – up to 11 vertical feet – from landscaping, including shrubs and bushes along the side of the street and tree limbs that are hanging over the roadway. Then, just prior to beginning the microsurfacing, the streets will be swept to remove loose dirt and debris.

A crew applies the microsurfacing emulsion to
a neighborhood street in Wedgewood


During the microsurfacing process, large equipment will apply a thin layer of seal coat onto the pavement. The seal coat typically requires two to four hours to set. “No Parking” and road closure signs will be removed as soon as the contractor determines it is safe to travel on the road. In addition to vehicular traffic, you should refrain from walking, biking or bringing pets on the street until the road closure signs are removed. Sidewalks will remain open at all times.

Microsurfacing must take place during dry weather to work effectively. In the event of rain, the work will be rescheduled.

Project benefits

The goals of the project are to maintain the roads using cost-effective methods, and provide a safe driving environment. Benefits of the project include:

  • Protecting the road surface in the Arbor Heights neighborhood
  • Preventing the need for larger, more expensive road repairs in the future
  • Creating a driving surface with improved skid resistance

Project schedule

SDOT anticipates that we will select a contractor in late July. We aim for the selected contractor to begin construction in early/ mid-August 2014. Prior to the start of the microsurfacing application, overhanging tree limbs must be cleared to 11 vertical feet from the edge of the roadway. Tree trimming is planned to take place in early August. The entire project is expected to be completed by September 2014.

Work in front of any one property is expected to last one day. Residents will receive letters with specific work schedules in advance construction.

What you can expect

  • Early August: SDOT crews, under the guidance of a certified arborist, will perform the tree trimming
  • 3 weeks in advance: A letter will arrive with more details about the work and specific timing for your block
  • 72 hours in advance: “No parking” signs will be placed in front of your property
  • 24 hours in advance: Anticipate that you will not be able to drive on your street for the entire work day. Please park your vehicle on a nearby street that will not be microsurfaced that day


On the scheduled date of seal coat work, the full width of the block will typically be closed for two to three hours. During this closure time the contractor will sweep, apply the microsurfacing seal coat, and allow the microsurfacing to cure. These two to three hours could occur at any time during the project’s work hours, but we will not be able to predict exactly when they will occur for a particular block. This will depend on how quickly other blocks scheduled for that day are completed.

“Road closed” signs may be posted on a block for up to a full workday. However, before and after the period of seal coat application and curing, you can walk or drive on the street with assistance from crews. Crews will work to minimize delays and provided assistance navigating around the work zone.

No Driveway Access

Driveway access will be blocked for up to two hours. Once the microsurfacing is placed, there is no access out of or into driveways during the curing period. Because we do not know in advance what part of the day this period would occur, if you need your car during that day, SDOT recommends parking on a block that is not scheduled for microsurfacing on that day.

Garbage, Yard Waste and Recycling Collection

If the microsurfacing project is scheduled on a day when solid waste is normally picked up on a particular block, SDOT will coordinate to have solid waste picked up during a specific period of time during that day and will notify impacted residents.

Some blocks not receiving microsurfacing treatment may be affected. On the day of the work, adjacent blocks may have more cars parked on the street and residents may need to navigate around the closed streets. Access on some adjacent blocks may be impacted at a similar level to access on the blocks receiving microsurfacing.

It could be a rough road for a bit. In general, right after the microsurfacing emulsion is applied, the road may have a slightly coarse driving surface. As cars drive over the road, however, the surface will become smoother, but still have enough traction to provide skid resistance.

Project materials

Project fact sheet

More information


Art Brochet, Communications Lead
(206) 615-0786 


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