A long and disruptive street dig on Fairview Avenue North in Seattle won’t begin until at least Monday, even though a pair of excavating machines are already parked in the center lane.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) needs to replace 78 feet of 12-inch diameter sewer pipe clogged by concrete that somehow spilled or leaked from construction in the booming South Lake Union area. Repairs are expected to take four to five weeks. The utility learned of this clog Oct. 16, when sewage flowed into a building nearby. A camera sent into the pipe found the hardened concrete, as seen in the SPU video below. (A close-up of the clog appears at the seven-minute mark.)
SPU hasn’t yet pinpointed the cause and who is responsible for the damage. Once the cause is found, the city’s risk department would seek to recover the $350,000 repair cost from contractors, said John Crawford-Gallagher, a city community-outreach specialist.
Already, northbound traffic and the crowded Route 70 bus must squeeze into a one-lane bottleneck on Fairview, between Thomas and Harrison streets, where a pump and a hose divert sewage to another pipe.
Digging was to begin Thursday, but utility staff are taking another day or so to consider whether the job can be done at night, to lessen the traffic jams on Fairview and side streets, Crawford-Gallagher said. SPU staff are wondering if a second northbound lane can be opened.
Also this weekend, the Highway 520 floating bridge will close from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, to continue removing the “ramps to nowhere” near Foster Island, where a citizen movement thwarted freeway extensions in 1970.