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Last updated: May 7, 2015

Project description

As part of its Microsurfacing Program, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is performing maintenance in the Arbor Heights neighborhood of southwest West Seattle. Microsurfacing is a cost-effective method to maintain roads by coating them with a protective sealant, extending their life by approximately 7-10 years. Unlike chip-sealing, this application process resurfaces the road without using or dispersing relatively large pieces of gravel.
Below shows the streets that SDOT plans to microsurface in Arbor Heights in the summer of 2015.

Please note that SDOT’s microsurfacing is for non-arterial streets that used to be chip-sealed; it does not include streets that:

    1. Are privately owned
    2. Are concrete
    3. Were chip-sealed at one time, but have since been fully resurfaced in asphalt
    4. Were microsurfaced in the 2014 Arbor Heights Project

How it will work

First, the roadway will be cleared of landscaping less than 14 feet high, 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 Wedgwood

On the day of microsurfacing, all personal items, including vehicles, will need to be removed from the roadway. Residents will need to park their cars on a nearby block not being microsurfaced.

During the microsurfacing process, large equipment will apply a thin layer of seal coat onto the pavement. The street will be closed to vehicular traffic for up to 8 hours to allow the seal coat to set. Residents, pedestrians and even pets should be kept off the emulsion until it has dried. Before it has dried, the microsurfacing emulsion will be sticky and difficult to remove from clothing or fur.

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

Project Schedule



3 weeks in advance of microsurfacing

Reminder notice with specific timing for your block

48-72 hours in advance of microsurfacing

Crews will place “No parking” signs on streets and distribute confirmation notices with dates and instructions

July-September 2015

Microsurfacing in 3 Seattle neighborhoods

This schedule will be updated with more details after we select a contractor.

Work in front of any one property is expected to last one day. Residents will receive letters with specific work schedules prior to construction. Microsurfacing will be scheduled (and accommodations made) to avoid conflicts with garbage collection and recycling pick-up as much as possible. Emergency vehicles will be allowed through the work area at all times without any delay.

Project materials

Project fact sheet

More information


Art Brochet, Communications Lead
(206) 615-0786 


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