Friday, November 8, 2019

520 Closed This Week-End

WSDOT published this information:

There is a horizontal green band that reads Rest of the West News. Above it is the letters W S D O T. An oval on the right reads state route 520.

Reminder: Eastbound SR 520 closed this weekend for traffic shift

Crews will use this time to complete the second step of a two-part traffic shift that began last month and will last for the next three to four years. This new traffic alignment will allow crews to safely rebuild the eastbound lanes between Montlake and the floating bridge.

Here are the details: 
  • Where: Eastbound SR 520 between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast on the Eastside
  • When: Between 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11
  • Why: Crews will shift traffic lanes, pave and restripe this portion of the eastbound roadway. On Monday morning, Nov. 11, eastbound SR 520 traffic will be reduced to two lanes between Montlake and the floating bridge. 
WSDOT contractor crews will work around the clock this weekend to compress a number of necessary tasks into a single weekend, resulting in fewer noisy nights for neighbors, fewer nightly lane closures for the traveling public, and increased safety for drivers and our workers. We do expect some noisy work to happen at night this weekend, which will be performed under a temporary noise variance (TNV).  The TNV allows work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. to exceed the noise limits granted under the project’s Major Public Projects Construction Noise Variance.
Residents should expect noise and vibration throughout the weekend, but the noisiest work will start Friday night and last through Saturday evening. Crews will be breaking concrete with hoe rams near the Montlake Boulevard overpass and installing barriers with impact hammers east of Montlake on the highway’s westbound mainline. To limit noise, crews will reduce nighttime hauling and use sound-dampening techniques on equipment.
After this weekend of work is complete and eastbound SR 520 opens Monday morning, travelers may experience increased traffic delays in the new, two-lane configuration. We appreciate the public’s patience. This traffic shift will be in place for the next three to four years to allow crews to safely remove the old eastbound bridge and build a replacement to modern seismic standards. The future eastbound bridge will carry traffic on two general-purpose lanes and one transit/HOV lane from Montlake to the floating bridge.
We’re also reducing the speed limit in the work zone to 40 miles per hour for the three- to four-year duration of the Montlake Project. 
A 3 panel graphic showing how 520 traffic between Montlake and the floating bridge is being reduced to two lanes in each direction.
View larger image (pdf 579 kb)

Daytime pile driving for new eastbound bridge begins next week

After this weekend’s traffic shift, crews will begin constructing the new eastbound SR 520 bridge as early as next week. Work will begin at the western edge of Lake Washington and move east from there. In the coming weeks, neighbors may notice pile driving, which can be loud and cause vibrations. The noisiest part of the work — pile driving, saw cutting and demolition — will occur during the daytime. We’ll continue to update you on what to expect as the work progresses. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Montlake Project hotline at 206-775-8885.

Online open houses and public comment opportunities open through Nov. 13

Missed our Oct. 29 open house? Good news – we have a number of online opportunities to learn about and comment on SR 520 project updates.
  • Visit our “Rest of the West” online open house to comment on:
    • Refined design concepts for the Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project, including the bridge design, Roanoke lid, and bicycle/pedestrian connections in the area.
    • Key topics or issues WSDOT should consider to help inform our future public engagement on the Montlake Cut crossing.
  • Look through our Montlake Project online open house to:
    • View the latest design renderings.
    • Learn how the project’s design evolved in collaboration with WSDOT, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Seattle Design Commission.
  • Take a public survey on a temporary market or food service in Montlake after the current Montlake Market closes by year’s end.
The two online open houses and survey will run through Nov. 13. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Provide comment on the SR 520/I-5 Project

WSDOT has developed a draft Community Construction Management Plan (CCMP) to identify practices for avoiding or reducing the effects of SR 520/I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project construction on historic properties, neighbors, and travelers within the SR 520 corridor. The project team also has drafted a Tree and Vegetation Management and Protection Plan. WSDOT is accepting public comment on these plans through Nov. 13 via the SR 520 online open house.  
We will update the SR 520/I-5 Project CCMP, as needed, through the course of the project to incorporate changes in construction activities or approaches to the work. The draft CCMP will also be reviewed and updated with the contractor WSDOT selects for the project.
We expect construction of this project to begin in 2020.

Mark your calendar – next monthly construction public meeting Nov. 19

Our Montlake Project contractor, Graham, will host the next monthly Montlake Project construction update meeting Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Seattle Yacht Club. We’ll provide a fresh overview of construction progress and a look-ahead at upcoming changes.
Date/time: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Location: Seattle Yacht Club, 1807 E. Hamlin St., Seattle

How to reach us and stay informed about SR 520 construction:

  • Call the 24-hour construction hotline (206-775-8885) with pressing Montlake Project questions or concerns.
  • Call the SR 520 Program information line (206-770-3554, M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) with general SR 520 inquiries.
  • Email SR 520 staff with your questions about the project or construction activities.
  • Visit the SR 520 Construction Corner for the most up-to-date information on closures and construction impacts.
  • Visit the SR 520 Program website to find general information about the project.
  • Follow us on Twitter @wsdot_520 to get key news and updates about the SR 520 program.
  • Stop by in-person at the Montlake Project Information Center (2209 East Lake Washington Boulevard), open Mondays and Wednesdays noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m. to noon, and the third Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • View current Montlake Project construction photos, taken continuously day and night, by mounted construction cameras

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Ovenight Work At Hospital This Week-End

Children's Hospital published this information on their Construction Blog:

The overnight sewer line work that was previously planned for November 2-3 was been delayed one week and is now scheduled for this coming weekend. 
The work will take place on the north side of the hospital from approximately 10 p.m-6am on Saturday and Sunday. . The sewer work is happening overnight to avoid impacts to the Sterile Processing and Receiving Departments, both of which must be functional during the day.  
Noise will be generated, though impacts to neighbors are expected to be minimal. We will hand-deliver notices to neighbors within 1,000 feet of the work area.

For more information go here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

September Neighborhood Crime Report

Below is the neighborhood September crime activity. The Neighborhood Private Security Patrol activity report (subscribe here) was not provided by the Laurelhurst Community Club.

9/1    8pm   3600 block of NE 44th Street
9/3   1:57    5000 block of 40th Avenue NE

9/6  11:36pm   5500 block of 33rd Avenue NE

9/11    1:15am   42000 block of 55th Avenue NE

9/12    2:51am   4700 block of 47th Avenue NE

9/13    6:52am  4400 block of 54th Avenue NE

9/14    8:38am   4700 block of 35th Avenue NE

9/21   1:51pm  5100 block of NE Latimer Place

9/21   11:32pm   4300 block of NE 38th Street

9/24   8:55pm   4100 block of NE Surber Drive

9/26  11:01pm   4100 block of 43rd Avenue NE

9/27    3:20pm   4500 block of 46th Avenue NE

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

All About Gadwalls At Union Bay

Here is a recent post from the Union Bay Watch Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time local photographer and birder. 

Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.

The Odd Waterfowl

Last month, this bird was seen hanging out near the Conibear rowing facility. One of the critical clues to its identification is the red carbuncled area between the eye and the bill.

Another clue is its size. When compared with male Mallards, two of which are in the background, this bird is significantly larger. I cannot quite decide whether its size, behavior or color is its most striking characteristic.

One of the first questions to cross my mind was, Is this a duck or a goose? Mallards are the largest of our three most common, year-round, Union Bay ducks. Gadwalls are roughly ten percent smaller than Mallards, while Wood Ducks are approximately one third smaller

Hint: The males of our unknown species can be as much as three times heavier than male Mallards. 

On the other hand, this species reaches only half the weight of the larger members of the Canada Goose family. However, there is a wide variety of weights among the Canada Goose subspecies, many of which weigh significantly less than our local variety.

Still, this single smaller waterfowl ascribes to the theory that 'size matters not!' Surprisingly, the normally cantankerous Canada Geese grudgingly gave this creature its due. I watched the geese chasing each other, but none of them choose to harass this odd-looking bird.

Its obvious confidence was quite inspiring. 

It was not the least bit ashamed of its odd-looking facial display and the fact that it was surrounded by a large flock of geese, each of which was taller and potentially twice as heavy, did not bother it at all.

Look at the thickness of those legs. I wonder if its strength and claws might be the reason for the obvious respect from the Canada Geese.

The bird did note my presence, but...

...quickly returned to searching for food. 

Another surprising behavior by members of this species is where they choose to rest and nest. Not only do they roost in trees at night they will also make their nests in tree cavities, just like Wood DucksI read that even though the females are only half the size of the males they still need an entry hole approximately eight inches wide to get into their nests. That is more than twice the required size for a Wood Duck.

The scientific name for this species is Cairina moschata. The common name is Muscovy DuckDespite the name, this species did not originate in Moscow. There seem to be multiple theories regarding how the name may have originated. In any case, these ducks were already in the 'New World' before the arrival of Europeans and some of their species had already been domesticated.

If you follow the highlighted link (to All About Birds) you will see a photo of a duck with mostly black feathering. If I understand correctly, the basically black Muscovy ducks, with white spots, are the wild, undomesticated version of the species. The domestic birds apparently have more white feathering. Most likely our bird is a domestic Muscovy that escaped.

Their range in the wild was historically from Northern Mexico to Northern Argentina. I have read that with the help of human-built nesting boxes they are now moving over the border into Texas.

Trumpeter Swans on Union Bay

In nature, many white birds tend to breed in white snowy habitats. For example, Snowy Owls, Snow Geese, Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. Blending in with your surroundings is a clear advantage when trying to hide defenseless eggs in a nest. I have also heard of an opposite situation e.g. the occasional white mutation among prey species in non-white environments. They do not seem to last long. Most likely, because they are so obvious to predators.

Curiously, with domesticated creatures, the inverse motivation appears to be true. I suspect owners of domesticated animals prefer for them to stand out from their surroundings. It makes them easier to spot, catch and retrieve. So as a result white is a handy color for sheep, pigeons, doves, domesticated geese, rabbits (which magicians pull out of their hats), etc. However, it this is a true human preference I have to wonder why more dogs are not white - especially after being involved in the longest known period of domestication?

Are these birds native to Union Bay? (They were seen from the Union Bay Natural Area.) 

Also, are they ducks or geese?  I will give you two hints. 

A) These birds are usually smaller than male Muscovy Ducks.

B) One of these four birds is more mature than the other three.

These are Greater White-fronted Geese. The adult has more white above its bill than the juveniles. They generally breed in the far north and winter in places like Mexico, Texas and California. However, they do have to migrate from one location to the other. Occasionally, them may even decide to spend some time in the Pacific Northwest. I guess the best answer is they are native migrates at Union Bay. 

Finally, just to confound my previous logic, even though these birds breed in the far north, at no time are the adults primarily white in color. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Children's Hospital Construction Activity This Week


Children's Hospital has begun construction activity in preparation for the new Building Care, Forest B, Phase 2 of the expansion, planned to open in Spring of 2022. 

The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan. 

The helicopter landing pad has moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active for the next four years, until Building Care is completed Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height). 

Last week, lights were added to the horizontal swing arm (boom) portion of the tower crane to increase safety for helicopter landings. These are in addition to the lights at the end of the boom and on the crane operator’s cab. The additional lights will help the helicopter pilots in identifying the location of the boom when landing or departing the helipad in the dark. While the lights are visible from the ground, they are not bright enough to interfere with any neighboring properties. As a reminder, the tower crane is scheduled to remain onsite through August 2020.

The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week: 
            • Fire lane expansion activities near NE 45th Street: install irrigation, light poles and landscaping
            • Install rebar and pour concrete for walls, footings, slabs, and curbs
            • Strip concrete
            • Install waterproofing for walls
            • Set stairs
            • Prep work on electricity transformer vault
            • Install storm drains and pipes
            • Demolish concrete walkways within site which will be the loudest activity will be the demolition of concrete walkways within the site. Expect heavy truck traffic, primarily from concrete trucks.
            • Activities on River C, level 7: construct walls
            • Internal activities: install new pipe and wiring pathways on Forest A, level 1

Call 206-987-8000 or email with questions.