Friday, March 4, 2016

Large Dangerous Roadway Puddles On Two Sections Of Montlake Boulevard Finally Clear With SPU Cleaning Stormwater Drains

The Laurelhurst Blog has received numerous emails about the large puddles on Montlake Boulevard, across from the University Village near the Metro bus stop and the UW Fields. 

Drivers report that the large puddles are very dangerous to suddenly come upon and not be able to slow down in time for or move lanes.
Other large puddles are in the southbound right hand lane of Montlake Boulevard between the University Village and HecEd.

This area can also be dangerous on rainy days as the road quickly gathers a lot of water, sometimes resulting in quite deep, very large puddles. Cars sometimes quickly swerve out of the lane once they realize how deep it is into another lane or have other quick reactions resulting in near accidents.
Here is one comment the Blog Staff received: 
Why does rainwater pool in the southbound lanes of Montlake Boulevard? On normal rainy days, it turns my car into a hydroplane.  
On torrential downpour days like today, the amount of pooled water was immense. I think it is quite a hazard. Aren't there storm drains along the stretch from 25th NE down to Hec Ed?
The Laurelhurst Blog contacted Seattle Public Utilities who subsequently visited "the trouble areas in the field and noticed the stormwater drain inlets appear to be sufficiently draining runoff from the road" specifically at the two locations:
  • NE 45th Street - across from the University Village entrance, right after the new light and crosswalk and next to the fields
  • Southbound Montlake corridor between the four stoplights lights from 45th to Husky Stadium, in the right hand lane, between 45th Street and Husky Stadium
SPU sent crews to clean the drain stormwater drain inlets in an effort to reduce the ponding in these areas on February 1st and 2nd and looked into the following as potential causes:
  • Blocked stormwater inlets along Montlake Boulevard
  • Capacity of the pipes draining roadway.
  • Road profile (which could create local low spots, i.e. ponding areas)
SPU added:
We have learned that there are pervasive and invasive roots clogging many of the drains in the area. The roots blocking these drains were cleaned out.  
While there are small ponding areas due to settling of the roadway, at this point in time SPU believes the cleaning of the inlets has addressed the unsafe ponding issue. While cleaning the pipes is not certain to eliminate ponding, it should reduce the problem.
Montlake Boulevard is maintained by WSDOT, however SPU has a maintenance agreement with WSDOT.  SDOT has an agreement to perform only routine maintenance and repair work, such as patching potholes.
WSOT doesn't have any near-term plans to resurface Montlake Boulevard.
SPU said to notify them if there are still ponding issues on the roadway the work crews cleared it out last month.

(photo courtesy of

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