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SDOT’s Microsurfacing Program

What’s happening now?

2017 microsurfacing work is expected to take place over a ten-day period, August 14-25 in the following areas. Click the link for a map showing which streets will be microsurfaced on which day.

What can you expect during microsurfacing? Read about what to expect and anticipated impacts below.

Questions about the project? Email or call 206-643-6304.

Last updated: August 2, 2017


What is microsurfacing?

Microsurfacing is a cost-effective method to help preserve the life of the pavement by applying a thin sealcoat; a mix of water, emulsified asphalt, and fine gravel.

This preventive maintenance process protects the pavement from cracking in the future. Check out this video of the process.

Which streets will be microsurfaced?

In the summer of 2017, we will microsurface 32 lane miles of streets in 4 Seattle neighborhoods (click on the links to see exactly which streets will be treated):

How does SDOT select the streets for treatment?

In the 1950s and 1960s, the City of Seattle annexed several parts of King County. Most of these streets had a dirt or gravel surface. The City paved these streets with a minimal amount of asphalt and began a regular preventive maintenance cycle, typically chip sealing the streets on a 10-year cycle.

Because these streets are mostly low volume non-arterial streets and have received preventive maintenance in the past, they continue to be the best candidates for microsurfacing.

All the streets being microsurfaced are selected based on the age of the current pavement and an on-site inspection by SDOT staff. Streets where the pavement has degraded beyond the point where preventive maintenance is effective will be excluded, as will streets where the asphalt was recently applied.

Preparing the street for microsurfacing

It is essential that structural damage is repaired prior to the microsurfacing process. SDOT crews patch deteriorated areas of the selected roads well in advance of the microsurfacing operation.

In addition, low hanging branches and overgrowth needs to be trimmed to allow for the microsurfacing equipment to navigate the roads.

On the day of microsurfacing, crews will sweep the street before applying the microsurfacing material.

What to expect the day of microsurfacing on your street

As the microsurfacing equipment moves along the street the mixture is fed into a spreader box. The material is spread across the full width of a traffic lane and then smoothed with a squeegee. The equipment also feathers the edges for a smooth transition. To complete this work, neighbors should expect:

  • On-street parking will not be permitted on the day of the microsurfacing
    • The street will need to be closed to all vehicles for up to 8 hours to provide the best result, although the average road closure is 4 to 6 hours.
    • “No Parking” signs will be placed 2 to 3 days before the work begins.
  • Pets and children should be kept off the newly applied emulsion for 2-3 hours until it has dried
    • The emulsion is difficult to remove from clothing, fur, or paws
  • Work will be scheduled to avoid conflicts with garbage collection and recycling pickups as much as possible, and any emergency vehicles will be allowed through the work zone without delay
  • Emergency vehicles will be allowed through the work area immediately.
  • Noise, tar-like odors, and large equipment are expected with the work.


During the month of August, we will microsurface selected streets in several neighborhoods, shown below. We anticipate the work occurring over a ten-day period from August 14 to 25.

August 14, 15
Rainier Valley Neighborhood Greenway

August 16, 17, 18, 19
Wedgwood/Ravenna-Bryant/North Seattle Neighborhood Greenway

August 19, 21, 22, 23, 24
Bitter Lake

All those living along the streets to be microsurfaced this summer will receive a flyer about 3 weeks prior to the actual work. The notice will include information on the expected schedule, along with other details about what to expect on the day the emulsion is applied. Another notice will be delivered 2-3 days prior to the actual microsurfacing.


The 2017 microsurfacing project is expected to cost $970,000, and funding is provided by the REETII (Real Estate Excise Tax).

Contact Us

If you have questions about the 2017 microsurfacing work in your neighborhood, please email or call the outreach team at (206) 643-6304. Stay current with this project on Twitter and Facebook, where you will find up to date information about road closures, project start and completion dates and times, and project accomplishments.

If you need this information translated, please call (206) 684-8834.

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Odeeffannoon kun akka siif, (206) 684-8834.

Paul Elliott
Project Communications Lead

Brian Glas, PE
Project Manager, SDOT

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