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2000 Elephants worth of paving!

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The completion celebration for the NE 125th Street and Sand Point Way Paving Project went off without a hitch, much like the project itself.  Held last Thursday at the Lake City Farmer’s Market, it was a low key affair – with less than ten minutes of speeches, but plenty of hot apple cider and fresh baked ginger snap and chocolate chunk cookies for those attending. 

Project Manager Barbara Lee shared a few measures of just how much was completed during the four months of construction – including the fact that the asphalt weighed more than 2000 elephants and that the new striping could extend between Seattle and Bremerton.  Annette Heidi-Jessen, owner of the popular Koffeeklatch shop on Lake City which hosted drop-in hours for neighbors interested in the project, spoke as well – offering appreciation for a job well done.  SDOT Director Peter Hahn closed the “dedication” ceremony, by thanking the project staff and the community both, as well as acknowledging the importance of the Bridging the Gap levy in making projects like this possible. 

Following the ceremony and throughout the afternoon, attendees stopped by the SDOT booth to chat with project staff (and for more cider and cookies).  Two laptop computers were available for those willing to take an online survey asking about the project.  Most appreciated being asked about how they were affected by the construction, and which outreach tools were most effective in reaching them. 

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With over 100 respondents to the survey HERE, it is clear that the mailed postcard  announcing the project and the periodic email updates – often “echoed” by friends and neighbors – were the most useful tools for those affected.  Perhaps most surprisingly, an analysis of responses about time spent driving indicates that the average weekly delay due to construction (and the southbound detours that used 35th Avenue NE) was less than ten minutes per driver.

The project still has a few final items to be completed, but the newly surfaced roadway is a big hit; all of the project benefits were ranked very important or extremely important by the majority of respondents. SDOT always knew that the paving projects were popular – now we have some data about just how much!