10-month rebuild of 3rd Avenue begins in Seattle's Belltown area

by: John Knicely Updated:

SEATTLE - Ten months of construction headaches started Tuesday on the 3rd Avenue transit corridor in Seattle’s Belltown area.

The massive repaving project is intended to relieve the headaches drivers have faced from recurring potholes on the stretch between Denny Way and Virginia Street.

The $9.3 million project is part of the Move Seattle Levy property tax hike approved by voters.

KIRO 7 first showed the problem on Feb.13 when massive potholes led to damage on some vehicles.

Grant Eastey told KIRO 7 about his issue.

“I have 22-inch rims and so the low profile tires. Drove over the potholes and boom, dented it,” said Eastey.

“So gotta get new rims now.”

From inside Elliott Bay Crossfit on 3rd Avenue and Blanchard Street owner Rohan Joseph has seen the problem over and over.

“They were just filling the hole with more asphalt and then the subgrade was still failing,” said Joseph.

“So the potholes recreated themselves.”

During construction sections of 3rd Avenue will be down to one lane in each direction between Virginia and Denny.

That stretch carries 3,600 vehicles a day, 46 percent of which are buses.

“A street that carries a lot of buses, and those buses beat up the street,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly.

“So we're going to go in and rebuild.”

Kubly told KIRO 7 with some road repair you can simply resurface the street which can last 10 years or more.

But with 3rd Avenue in such rough shape they're going to gut it completely and rebuild it.

And that's why it's going to take 10 months.

Crews will remove all the asphalt and replace it with concrete panels, which lasts longer.

Joseph is OK with the impact on his gym as long as the potholes go away.

“If (my clients) can't park right in front of the gym hopefully they're not the people who complain about walking an extra block before they do a workout,” said Joseph.

“So I think if (the city) can do it right, do it right.

And it'll be well worth it,” said Joseph.

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