Street Maintenance Program
Revised March, 2012
The Street Maintenance Division of Seattle Department of Transportation is responsible for keeping street pavement clean and in good repair. The crews sweep and flush streets, remove snow and ice, repair potholes, and take care of minor asphalt and concrete paving jobs. The Division monitors the performance of City streets and establishes multi-year repaving priorities. The staff is also responsible for landslide cleanup on city streets.
Drainage concerns are the responsibility of Seattle Public Utilities.
To report a concern regarding a street surface, call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623
For information on street maintenance activities, see:
Bridging The Gap Paving Project Information & Maps
The voters of Seattle passed a $365 million levy in November, 2006, called Bridging the Gap that called for transportation maintenance and improvements. The levy proceeds, combined with a commercial parking tax and an employee hours tax, increased available funds for arterial paving as well as other needed infrastructure maintenance. The annual list of streets to be paved is compiled each spring.
Click here to view the city paving map (revised 5/2016)
Funding for Street Improvements
The City of Seattle pays for work on streets, bridges, and other parts of the transportation system with funds from a variety of sources, including federal and state grants, gas tax revenues, local fees, and the City's General Fund. Federal and state grants must be matched with local funds.
In 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year, $365 million levy for transportation maintenance and improvements known as Bridging the Gap (BTG) which is complimented by the commercial parking tax. Since 2007, more than $20 million a year has been invested in street improvements along Seattle’s arterial streets helping to make up for the diminishing amounts available from other sources during the economic downturn. BTG will expire at the end of 2015.
In 2010, the City Council formed the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD). The STBD is a separate entity from the city and in the fall of 2010 they voted to put into place a $20 Vehicle License Fee. This fee raises approximately $6.8 million a year and $2.7 million is currently dedicated to pavement preservation.
Grass & Weed Cutting Along Street Shoulders
Property owners are responsible for taking care of the sides of the street—sidewalks and planting strips—that are adjacent to their property. See Street Use to learn more about these requirements.
Seattle Department of Transportation's Street Maintenance crews maintain the areas that are adjacent to public property. They also trim vegetation that blocks the site line of drivers, presenting a potential hazard. The Department’s Urban Forestry crews maintain formally planted areas on major arterials or adjacent to public property, such as along a bridge or a public stairway.
For questions about overgrowth adjacent to private property, call the Department of Planning and Development at (206) 684-7899. Additional helpful information about DPD code compliance for overgrowth can be found on their Web site.
Otherwise, call Seattle Department of Transportation at (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623.
Landslide Response and Repair
Seattle Department of Transportation's Street Maintenance crews clear debris from the roadways and bridges when a landslide occurs. They also oversee repairs to help protect streets and bridges from future landslides. Call (206) 386-1218 to report debris in the roadway.
Leaf Cleanup and Removal
Property owners are responsible for removing and disposing fallen leaves on their property and from the sidewalks adjacent to their property. Seattle Department of Transportation Street Maintenance crews perform limited leaf cleanup in the fall in areas with the most street trees.
Litter Receptacle Service
City owned Litter Receptacles are the responsibility of Seattle Public Utilities and they contract the work out to private garbage haulers. Contact Litter Can Hotline: (206) 615-1700 with questions or concerns. King County Metro Transit takes care of the receptacles located at bus stops.
Pothole Repair and Sink Holes
A pothole repair crew is assigned to each quadrant of the City. Every day they receive a list of reported potholes. They schedule their work so they take care of other potholes reported in the area at the same time. They also look for unreported potholes on arterial streets. See Seattle Pothole Information to learn more about the pothole repair program and to see a map of reported and filled potholes.
To report a pothole or similar street defect within the City of Seattle, use the street maintenance form, or call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623.
Sink holes are generally larger and deeper than pot holes. They are usually caused by a source of water under the pavement, such as a broken pipe. The water causes the soil to wash away, creating a void under the pavement, and eventually the pavement gives away.
Please report sink holes on Seattle streets immediately by calling (206) 386-1218.
Snow and Ice Response
Seattle Department of Transportation's Street Maintenance crews clear away snow and ice on Seattle’s arterial streets. SDOT’s Winter Weather response plan is reviewed and updated each year. See Winter Weather to learn more about the winter storm response program and see a map of the city’s snow and ice response routes.
Street Cleaning and Spillage Cleanup
In general, Seattle Department of Transportation's Street Maintenance crews clean up spills in the street. When requested by Seattle Public Utilities, Street Maintenance crews also clean up material that has been illegally dumped. If the material is considered hazardous, a contractor is hired to clean the spill. To report spills, call (206) 386-1218. For street cleaning concerns, call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623.
The City of Seattle allocates funds for arterial paving each year. Street Maintenance’s Pavement Management engineers monitor the conditions of City streets and select the streets to be paved.
The larger part of the paving funds is used for work that is bid out to private contractors. Seattle Department of Transportation’s own street paving crews perform small, spot paving projects on arterial streets.
In addition to the streets included in Seattle Department of Transportation's annual paving program, some streets are paved as a part of projects that include general street improvements such as underground utilities, sidewalks, street lighting, landscaping, and other urban design elements.
Seattle Department of Transportation generally does not have sufficient funding to pave non-arterial streets. Priority is given to arterial streets due to the greater amount of traffic on these streets and the importance to the community of keeping them in good condition. There are limited funds for portions of non-arterial streets used for “bus turnarounds” due to the extraordinary wear they receive. Several concrete and asphalt non-arterial streets are resurfaced each year under this program.
The Department does perform maintenance on non-arterial streets such as filling potholes.
Call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623, to learn about street repairs.
Street Maintenance crews sweep major arterials on a regular basis, ranging from daily to every two weeks, depending on the need. Most minor arterials are swept once a month; some are swept only when requested.
The crews do not routinely sweep nonarterial streets, but do limited leaf cleaning in the fall. If you live on a non arterial street and you feel there is litter and debris that is causing a public health concern, you can contact our field office to request an inspection to determine if sweeping can be performed.
Because of their heavy use, downtown streets are swept every night, and alleys are cleaned five nights a week. Alleys are usually also hand-cleaned and flushed once per week. Street sweeping normally takes place during the night. To ask about street sweeping, call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623.