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Microsurfacing in North Rainier Valley underway

Over the next few days through August 20, residents and people traveling through the North Rainier Valley neighborhood may encounter detours as work crews make their way through the area performing microsurfacing of city streets. As a result, roads will be closed for up to 8 hours at a time to allow the new surfaces to set. We appreciate the communities’ patience while this work is being completed.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly chats with local media and community members  about the benefits of Microsurfacing and explains how it acts as a protective seal coating which extends the life of pavement. It is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone for traction.

SDOT Director and staffers discuss Microsurfacing  project in North Rainier Valley

SDOT Director Scott Kubly with staffers discuss the Microsurfacing project in North Rainier Valley.

This is a cost-effective method to renew the road surface and seal minor cracks and other irregularities. This preventive maintenance process protects the pavement from moisture penetration and oxidation. Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing creates a protective layer which preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future.




What to expect during construction:

Crews have begun placing “no parking” signs on streets and distributed confirmation notices with dates and instructions. The notices have asked that cars be relocated off the road and planting strip area prior to the start of work.

During microsurfacing, residents have been asked to remove all personal items from the road and park cars on a nearby block not being microsurfaced. Noise, tar-like odors and large equipment associated with microsurfacing can be expected. To ensure best results, the street will be closed to vehicles for up to 8 hours. We encourage everyone to avoid the road surface during this time. When wet, the microsurfacing emulsion is sticky and difficult to remove from clothing and pet fur.


If your regular garbage collection or recycling pick-up is scheduled on the same day as this work, please have your bins to the curb before 6 AM to ensure collection.

Microsurfacing benefits:

In the past, SDOT’s primary method of preventive maintenance has been chip sealing. While chip sealing is an effective preventive maintenance measure, it leaves the roads very rough and there is an extended period of loose rock on the street. Microsurfacing and chip sealing are both seal coats that extend the life of the pavement for about the same amount of time (5 to 10 years).

However, microsurfacing has two key advantages over chip sealing:

  • No loose rock chips are involved, so there is no need to sweep loose rocks weeks after the project is complete.
  • The final product provides a finished surface which is black in color and looks similar to a conventional asphalt surface.

Questions during construction?

You can contact the project team by calling 206-727-3669 or by email at

Here is the link to the SDOT Microsurfacing page: