Aurora Bridge Painting Project – June 19th Update

Liberty Maintenance officially began the process of sandblasting and painting the Aurora Bridge yesterday. Their work has gone off without a hitch out of the gate, and the hope is that that continues as the project progresses north. The sandblasting and painting work is limited to daytime hours Monday through Friday. However, before they can do that, they have to set up platforms underneath the bridge to access the areas that need to be repainted. This work has to occur at night due to the necessary lane closures on SR 99 needed to stage equipment on the bridge to help set up the platforms. Traffic volumes are too high during the day to close any lanes, leaving nights as the only viable option. We’ve heard some concerns from the folks on the south side that this night work has been a bit louder than expected, and we wanted to apologize for the inconvenience. We’ve spoken with Liberty today, and they will do their best to keep the nighttime work as quiet as possible, though some noise is unavoidable given the nature of the work. This nighttime platform set up is scheduled for Monday through Thursday for the next two weeks. After that, they’ll be setting up the containment around the platforms, which will be a much quieter operation.  Unlike the first phase, there’s a chance that there won’t be a need to move the vacuums and other noisy equipment into the staging area near the south side floating homes during this project. Liberty believes they may only need to use the staging area near the Carleton House. Therefore, there’s currently no need for noise shields on the ground surrounding that work zone at the moment. This could change if unforeseen obstacles arise, but this is Liberty’s strategy going forward. I also wanted to follow-up on some concerns from the previous newsletter about the size of the staging area near the floating homes. WSDOT inspectors were on-site last Thursday and ensured that the size of the staging area matches with what’s allowed in the plan for the project.  don’t hesitate to call or email us at with any questions or concerns. 

Air Quality Reports – there are multiple pages, click on the arrow at the bottom left of the image to advance to the next page. A testing baseline has been established, and monitoring will continue. The first document is a one page summary of results to date, all well within applicable standards. The second document is a lengthy (41 pages) summary of testing standards and methods, locations, and raw results. A number of pages also contain the credentials and certifications of the testing lab. Compared to the last painting project from two years ago, this represents a quantum leap forward in the quality of the reporting and testing, and also in the (non)release of lead contamination (very little). This is the link to the project website.

Aurora Bridge Painting Project Stage 2 – there are two pages, click on the arrow at the bottom left of the image to advance to the next page. This is the link to the project website.

Responses to Questions From March 6 Community Meeting re Aurora Bridge Painting

Thank you for your patience while we followed up on the feedback many of you provided from the most recent community event on March 6. Your input and questions were greatly appreciated as we come down the final stretch of preparations and get ready for construction to begin in the next two months. Most questions and comments seemed to coalesce around a few themes during Liberty’s presentation and the question-and-answer phase. You’ll find a recap of those topics below.
How will Liberty Maintenance address the noise at the staging areas?
Liberty will use noise mitigation measures that include building a barrier that will enclose the staging areas on both sides of the bridge. These steps will ensure the noise at these staging areas is at or below 73 decibels.
What times will there be noise during the weekday versus the weekends?
Liberty does not plan on sandblasting or painting on the bridge during the weekend. However, Liberty is allowed to run the equipment in the staging area until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Will we be able to check how loud the staging areas are?
We are fine-tuning the website linking you to the already-installed noise monitoring stations at either end of the bridge. The plan is to have it available before Liberty begins staging equipment in the next couple weeks. We’ll be sending out a subsequent email with a link and more information about how you can check current noise levels at the staging areas.
How will we know when and where the loud work will be happening on the bridge?
We will be sending weekly progress reports that will go over not only what has been accomplished but what work is scheduled for the upcoming week. Liberty will submit a three-week plan each week, so WSDOT will have a pretty good forecast for what’s coming. The schedules aren’t etched in stone, especially around the third week, but you’ll get a good gauge on where work will be happening during the next couple weeks or so. This should help make planning around the project easier. 
Will WSDOT improve the road that was used for staging during the first phase of the project?
The city of Seattle maintains the road in question on the south side of the project. After phase one of the painting project was completed, WSDOT worked with the city of Seattle and restored the road to the standard required by the city at the time. The city inspected and approved the work completed on the road.  However, we’d heard some concerns from the community on the condition of the road last year and checked with the city to see if they would like to do any additional improvements. Unfortunately, it was something they didn’t have funding for at the time. Circling back around with them again after the meeting, that remains the case. WSDOT staff looked at the possibility of potential improvements, but there are legal concerns that don’t allow us to address any repairs on a city street that go beyond the scope of the project. That being said, Liberty has agreed to actively sweep in the area. This will eliminate some of the dust and debris in the area that was a concern during the project’s first phase.
Will Liberty Maintenance park vehicles along the street near the south side staging area?
Liberty does not plan to have their crew park near the staging area. They will have their crew park offsite and will shuttle them in for work each day. However, this will be an active construction site. So there will be times when inspectors and managers may visit the site to check on the work. But know that we have heard loud and clear coming out of the last stage of the project was that parking is at a premium in this area, and it hasn’t gotten any better with the new bike path. Therefore, Liberty and WSDOT will do what they can to ensure residents have a better chance of parking in the area.
If you have questions, please email us at
Marqise Allen
WSDOT Communications

Responses to Questions & Concerns from June 6 Follow-Up Community Meeting

Good afternoon, Thank you for your patience as we looked into the feedback many of you provided at our June 6 community meeting. Several topics are addressed below.

Five- or six-day workweek

We are still weighing the pros and cons of a five- or six-day workweek. All affected parties are being considered, including you the residents, area businesses and the contractor. We will follow up with an email to you once a decision is made.
Sound frequency from a three-lobe blower

As we mentioned at the meeting, we will be using a vacuum truck with a three-lobe blower for Stage 2. It creates less vibration and a higher pitch that is easier to manage compared to a two-lobe blower, which was used in Stage 1.

A good example managing different pitch levels is a nightclub playing loud music. Once outside, you will primarily hear (and possibly feel) the lower pitches (or bass tones) only. This is because the higher pitches are being kept in by the walls of the club.

Pitch is measured in frequency. Our calculated estimate is 50 Hertz (Hz) for a two-lobe blower and 75 Hz for a three-lobe blower. Click the links to hear (and feel) a test tone for each frequency. Please note that not all speakers can clearly generate a 50 Hz tone, so it may sound quieter than a 75 Hz tone.

Cleanup by subcontractors after hours

The contract will require the contractor and all of its subcontractors to:

·         Comply with all appropriate safety and health standards, which includes keeping the work area clean and to clean up after themselves.

·         Meet required environmental regulations.

·         Perform activities in a way that will not increase erosion or pollution (this includes no debris down drains).

·         Comply with all federal, state and local environmental regulations regarding, but not limited to, noise, air and water pollution. 

City of Seattle road restoration from Stage 1 and plans for Stage 2

For Stage 2 work, the contract will require that WSDOT, the city of Seattle and the contractor jointly conduct preconstruction and post-construction inspections of all staging areas to ensure that they are left the same as prior to construction.

In Stage 1, the staging area between Westlake Avenue north and the water was not designated in the contract. The contractor worked independently with the city on permits and requirements to use it.

Trucks driving up on bank of road or onto railroad tracks

We will make sure that the Stage 2 contractor clearly delineates the slope and the tracks within the staging area so crews do not drive on them. 

Bike contact during project

We will work with the Cascade Bike Club to identify ways to encourage bicyclists to slow down through the work area or to use the sidewalk along Westlake Avenue North as an alternate route.

24-hour hotline during construction

Our environmental manager, Rob Woeck, has volunteered to provide his cell phone number for environmental concerns any time during construction. Tim Nau, assistant project engineer for construction of Stage 2, has also said he is willing to share his cell phone number for any construction concerns during the project. We will share at least two 24-hour numbers with you before construction begins.

Sharing the contract with you in advance

Once finalized, but prior to advertisement to prospective contractors, we will share a copy of the contract specifications with Katelyn Kinn, staff attorney for PugetSoundkeepers. Once the contract is advertised, we will post a copy of the contract on our website and share the link with you via email. This will likely be sometime in October.

Advance notice of schedules and work accomplished in weekly email update

We will provide you with weekly email updates that will include the following:

·         List of all floating home community feedback sent in to over the past week.

·         Description of all work accomplished and areas of the bridge where work has been completed.

·         Schedule of planned construction activities for the weeks ahead and what areas of the bridge crews will be working on. 

Name of the SR 529 bridge painting contractor

The SR 529 Steamboat Slough Bridge painting project was awarded to Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. 

City not attending meetings
This is a WSDOT project, not a city project. We extended an invitation to the city to have a representative at our meetings, but they declined. However, we did agree to pass along any relevant information to them.
Worker personal protection equipment
The contract requires the contractor to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding personal protection equipment (PPE) while performing the work. Enforcement of these requirements is under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA).

However, if the contractor is not compliant, especially if crews are blatantly ignoring PPE laws and regulations or creating a safety hazard for the general public, WSDOT does have the authority and obligation to stop all work until the contractor comes into compliance. We can also ask L&I and/or OSHA to come out and do a site assessment if needed. 

We still have a few months to finalize the design plans for Stage 2 of the Aurora Bridge painting project and your continued input is extremely valuable to us.


Justin Fujioka

WSDOT Communications


Curt Winningham

WSDOT Project Engineer (design)


Puget Soundkeepers Aurora Bridge Painting Phase 1 Notice

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