Vashon Highway SW Paving Program
Paving to begin in summer of 2018
Paving will take place on 12 miles of Vashon Highway SW in 2018. The work is anticipated to begin early this summer. This webpage will provide updates on the paving project and photos of the progress. Please check back regularly and consider signing up for Road Alert emails and text messages.
How much of Vashon Highway will be paved this year?
Paving will take place on 12 miles of Vashon Highway in 2018. Two portions of the roadway that were paved in 2009 will not be included in the project. The sections from SW Bank Road to SW 156th Street and from just north of SW 140th Street to SW 132nd Place will not be paved as part of this project.
How long will the project take?
The contract allows approximately three months for the contractor to complete all of the work in the contract. The work is weather dependent.
How long has it been since the 12 miles have been paved?
It’s been about 25 years since a 12 mile stretch of the highway has been repaved.
Why pave the road?
The majority of the highway is in poor condition with various types of pavement defects (alligator cracking, potholes, raveling, longitudinal cracking, etc.) visible throughout the project limits. If delayed to the point where more significant repairs or full reconstruction is needed, costs would be three to five times as much depending on the amount of damage to the subgrade.
When will the Vashon Highway paving project begin?
The work is anticipated to begin early this summer. King County is in the process of hiring a contractor for this project. Once this process is complete, the schedule will be determined and we will send out an update with the schedule for the work. Updates regarding anticipated work start dates and activities will be posted on the Vashon Highway Paving Program webpage and a Road Alert email/text will be sent. To sign-up for Road Alert emails/text messages, click the red button to the left under Stay Connected.
Will paving work be done during the Strawberry Festival or the 4th of July?
No. Paving work will not be conducted from Thursday, July 19 through Sunday, July 22. Work will also not take place on Tuesday, July 3 or Wednesday, July 4.
Will this work require lane restrictions and detours?
The project will require a lane closure while crews conduct the paving work. Detours will be put in place or one lane with flaggers will move traffic through the work zone.
Any changes to rumble strips on Vashon Highway?
King County data shows that the rumble strips on Vashon Highway have led to a 30-percent reduction in crashes since their original installation about five years ago. This is a significant improvement in road safety for the people of Vashon Island and makes the reinstallation of rumble strips on Vashon Highway after the paving project is complete – in the same place and pattern as they are today – a matter of public safety.
National studies by the Federal Highway Administration show that the installation of rumble strips leads to an average reduction in crashes of nearly one-third. In King County, we have seen similar results. In South King County, for example, centerline and shoulder rumble strips on Petrovitsky Road east of 151st Ave SE have shown a 42-percent reduction in crashes after five years, and centerline and shoulder rumble strips on SE 400th Street from SR 164 to SR 169 have shown a 32-percent reduction in crashes.
Residents have asked whether we can instead add bike lanes to Vashon Highway. There are two issues with this. First, the public right-of-way on Vashon Highway is of a limited width, so adding bike lanes would likely require property acquisitions from most individual property owners for the length of any new bike facilities. Additionally, the limited funding available for county roads is currently spent on primarily critical safety issues and preservation of existing roads and facilities. There are not funds available for new facilities, like bike lanes that require property acquisition, or other capacity and mobility projects. Acquiring property and funding for a project of this significance is not feasible given existing resources. We are happy to hear from cyclists about specific location issues and will evaluate specific areas to determine whether or not modifications might be warranted.