Seattle weekend rains defeat WSDOT; US-2 paving project put on hold till spring

This picture shows excavators pulling up old asphalt from westbound US 2 on the Hewitt Avenue Trestle over Ebey Island on Aug. 12, 2018 (WSDOT Photo)

SEATTLE -- It didn't rain a whole lot this spring and summer, but in true Seattle fashion, when it *did* manage to rain, it preferred to do so on the weekend.

And while that was a bummer for outdoor plans, it was a REAL bummer for the Washington State Department of Transportation, who tried in vain to complete a weeks-long construction project along US-2 that was heavily dependent on completely dry weather.

They finally surrendered on Friday.

"Thanks to cooler temperatures and forecasted rain, people in Snohomish County will need to wait until next year before they can fully enjoy smooth travels from one end of the westbound US 2 trestle to the other," the WSDOT wrote in announcing their project would now have to wait to be completed until next spring.

It's not like they didn't try. They had 12 weekends available in the late spring and summer to get in six dry weekends. Heck, last summer we went 92 days with only a couple hours' light rain (0.02 inches) in the dead of night on Aug. 12 as the only blemish on a record-dry summer.

But eight of the weekends this summer had rain at some point, causing project postponements. Much of their project involves putting down waterproof sealant, so even drizzle in the area meant it was a no-go.

What's worse, it seems like had the weather pattern just shifted three days, they would have been fine. Could the WSDOT be a rain magnet?

WSDOT says they did get quite a bit done in their four weeks of dry weekends, including repaving 3.5 miles of road and "installing enough waterproof matting to cover nearly seven football fields."

But now, they'll cross their fingers that their project won't be a rain magnet again in 2019.

"I've been told that the only predictable thing about construction in the Pacific Northwest is its unpredictability," said Ally Barrera with WSDOT. "Through the ups and down, those affected by the roadwork rolled with the punches and we are grateful for that. Now we need you to roll that patience into next spring."

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