85th Street Repaving Project — Get ready

At our annual meeting on May 14th, SDOT presented some information on their upcoming project to repave N & NW 85th St. from Interstate 5 to 15th Ave NW.

  • The project will begin at the western end of 85th this fall. Exact start date is unknown at the moment.
  • 85th will be CLOSED in the eastbound direction while work proceeds.
  • Westbound traffic will be carried on 85th in the lane not being worked on.  But westbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane.
  • Eastbound traffic will be detoured. The most likely candidates for detours are NW 80th Street and Holman Road.
  • Intersection closures can be expected on weekends.
  • Night-time work will include full roadway closures.
  • Motorists should plan for additional time for detouring, traffic slowing, and stoppages for construction equipment.
  • New concrete pavement will be installed in the most heavily used areas. West of 8th, those are the center lanes, and east of 8th, the right hand lanes. The difference is due to the parking allowed on 85th, west of 8th.
  • Bicycle “sharrows” will be marked on the street between Greenwood Ave NW and 15th Ave NW.
  • The work will not include the intersection at 15th Ave NW, but everything up to it.

We will be impacted by these changes, we can expect higher traffic volumes on neighborhood, non-arterial streets as motorists avoid the construction area, and try to get to the businesses along 85th. We can expect higher traffic volumes on 80th, 15th, 8th, Holman and the streets located within.

Presently, the project is in the final design stage. The final design needs to be completed before the project can be sent out for bids in mid to late summer. Once the design is finalized, preparatory utility work will begin in mid to late summer. SDOT plans to hold an open house in early fall to share with the public, final design, schedule and impacts information. They are contacting businesses along 85th during the next few months to work with them regarding access and other issues.

More information from a more extensive presentation to the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce is available on the MyBallard and PhinneyWood websites.

This project is supported by the Bridging the Gap Levy passed by Seattle voters in November 2006.  SDOT will update the project website with information as the project proceeds. You can also sign up to receive e-mail updates there.

The project website currently shows the following information:

Project Description
Beginning in fall 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will reconstruct N/NW 85th St from I-5 to 15th Ave NW with new concrete pavement in the most heavily traveled areas, and resurface the remaining lanes with asphalt.  In addition, SDOT is planning to resurface Greenwood Avenue N from N 85th St to N 73rd St with new asphalt.

This project is brought to you by the “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy passed by Seattle voters in November 2006.

Click here to view the latest project fact sheet.

Purpose and Need
N/NW 85th St and Greenwood Ave N are heavily traveled arterials, important to north Seattle neighborhoods.  With over 30,000 vehicles traveling on N/NW 85th St daily, and over 12,000 vehicles on Greenwood Ave N, the roadways have experienced increased deterioration over time. Improving N/NW 85th St and Greenwood Ave N will make the corridors safer for vehicles and pedestrians, keep nearby freight moving, and reduce the City’s maintenance backlog.

To view a map of the reported potholes along these corridors, visit: http://web1.seattle.gov/SDOT/potholemap/

Project Benefits

  • New concrete pavement in the most heavily travelled areas
  • New and upgraded curb ramps to meet current accessibility standards
  • Bus stop improvements including new shelters in some locations
  • Sidewalk repair and replacement in some areas
  • Environmentally friendly stormwater facilities
  • New bicycle sharrows on NW 85th St between 15th Ave NW and Greenwood Ave N

Click here for a map that shows the improvements planned in each phase.

Project Location
N/NW 85th Street from Interstate 5 (I-5) to 15th Avenue NW; and Greenwood Avenue N from N 73rd Street to N 85th Street (see following project area map)

Project Schedule


The project is currently in the final design phase. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2011 and last until fall 2012. Construction activities will be completed in phases to better manage traffic and minimize impacts to residents, businesses and commuters.

SDOT will host a public open house in September to share information with the public about final design, construction schedule and phasing, detour and traffic control plans, and what to expect during construction.

Anticipated Construction Impacts
Construction activities along this corridor will result in major traffic impacts to local communities and regional commuters.  While impacts will be specific to each phase, nearby communities should anticipate:

  • Long-term eastbound closures and detours on 85th St during each phase
  • Reduced lanes for westbound traffic
  • Multiple closures of intersections on weekends
  • Occasional full roadway closures at night
  • Traffic detours during full roadway or intersection closures
  • Daytime, nighttime and weekend work activities
  • Noise, dust and heavy construction traffic
  • Side street and driveway closures
  • Sidewalk detours

SDOT is committed to continued coordination with residents, businesses, institutions, and nearby neighborhoods as we prepare for construction.  We will also work closely with the community during construction to address any issues that may arise.

Public Outreach
We are currently working closely with local residents, businesses, institutions, community groups, and other transportation agencies to gather information to help minimize construction impacts.  Throughout the final design, pre-construction and construction phases we plan to provide opportunities for the public to provide feedback and to learn more about this project.

Project Contacts:

George Frost, Project Communications Lead, george.frost@seattle.gov, (206) 615-0786

Jessica Murphy, Project Manager, jessica.murphy@seattle.gov, (206) 684-0178