Category Archives: Asphalt

Watch Atkinson make quick work of SR99 bridge over Broad Street

The state Department of Transportation made a time-lapse video of last weekend’s work on SR99 that required closing the highway for several days.
Crews from Atkinson Construction and subcontractor Dickson Co. took just 48 hours to replace the section of SR 99 that crosses above Broad Street. They demolished the old roadway and then added fill to the now-closed section of Broad to level it up with the rest of the highway.
The highway reopened Wednesday.
Nice work!

Video courtesy of WSDOT

L&I doing the home show circuit

The Department of Labor & Industries will have a booth at 18 home shows this winter/spring throughout the state to inform homeowners about hiring the right construction contractors.

L&I says home show attendees in search of a contractor should arrive with a plan that includes:

• Know what you want. Whether planning to update your bathroom or build a fence, write a list of the features you must have versus the features you’d like to have. Bring magazine pictures of desired features.
• Talk to a variety of vendors and contractors. Bring a list of questions about your project and ask contractors about their experience.
• Confirm prospective contractors are registered with the state at Registered contractors must have a business license and a current certificate of liability insurance and a bond on file with L&I, providing some recourse if the project goes bad. Just because contractors have a booth doesn’t mean they’re registered.

The first event, the Tacoma Home & Garden Show, is running until Sunday inside the Tacoma Dome. Admission is $12.

Mowat saves the day (week)

I’ve been getting press releases on the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure several times a day from WSDOT. There’s even been morning briefings held near the site each day at 4:30 a.m. (sorry, not going).

With two days of weekday commutes under drivers’ belts, it seems they have been paying attention to WSDOT’s calls for “Viadoom” if they don’t take the bus, ride the train, shift work hours or just stay home.

Thank you drivers, but there’s another bunch of heroes out there that should be saluted. They are the crews working for Mowat Construction, the contractor building $1.23 million in improvements to Airport Way South, a major arterial that is handling a lot of detoured traffic.

For several weeks, the northbound direction of Airport Way has been reduced to one lane for the improvement project, but crews worked hard to open an extra lane in time for Monday’s commute.

That extra lane has made a big difference for southend commuters. The stretch of Airport Way running through Georgetown saw a few mild backups prior to the closing of the viaduct, but has been free-flowing since two lanes have been open.

Another round of “thanks” goes to whoever decided to delay the closure of the Airport Way Viaduct that spans the Argo railyard just north of G-Town. Mowat is also the contractor on that $16.68 million renovation project. The original plan was to close the Airport Way Viaduct for 14 months beginning in late August or early September. That would have diverted more than 13,000 drivers onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s detour routes (East Marginal Way South, First Avenue South, Fourth Avenue South). Can you say Viadoom?

Check out WSDOT’s recommended routes to Seattle here.


Mowat crews at work on Airport Way South earlier this month.





Asphalt scammers go to work

Summer is around the corner, but con artists have already hit the Tri-Cities with asphalt-paving scams.

The state Department of Labor & Industries has been warning homeowners in that area about “contractors” offering to pave and seal-coat driveways on the cheap. The problem is the scammers don’t do a good job, according to L&I.

L&I says the scam typically works like this: a friendly representative approaches a homeowner offering to repave a driveway for a low price, claiming they have just enough asphalt left over from another job nearby. The representatives are usually polite, drive nice work vehicles and can be very persuasive.

But the work they do won’t meet homeowners’ expectations, and both materials and workmanship are often subpar. By the time the victim realizes his or her new driveway is falling apart, the pavers have the victim’s money and are long gone and untraceable, says L&I.

The driveways go bad in several ways: they are built with inferior materials, the asphalt is poured too thinly, the driveway’s foundation was neglected, and drainage wasn’t taken into account.

“We haven’t issued any citations yet in the Tri-Cities area, but we suspect a few of these outfits are doing business there,” said Rich Ervin, L&I’s program manager for contractor registration, in a press release. “We urge any homeowners that have done business with or have been approached by these guys to report it to L&I.”

Victims can report suspicious contractors online or by calling (888) 811-5974.

L&I says this scam happens every summer.

I’m kind of wondering why nobody has taken down the license plates of the perpetrators? Maybe the perps could practice their road-building skills for the Department of Corrections.

Asphalt scammers hit Cowlitz County

The state Department of Labor & Industries says a scam contractor is at work in Cowlitz County.

According to an L&I press release, a young couple was recently persuaded to withdraw cash from the bank to pay for an asphalt paving job. Within a couple of weeks, the asphalt was breaking off in chunks.

L&I says representatives will often approach a homeowner or business and offer to repave a driveway or parking lot cheaply because they have leftover asphalt from another job nearby. The representatives are usually polite, drive nice work vehicles and can be very persuasive.

L&I says it’s not unusual in the summer months for these paving crews to come into the state and hit different communities – often targeting senior citizens. By the time problems appear, they are nowhere to be found.

“Never let anyone rush you into making a decision about home repairs or improvements, no matter how good the deal seems at the time,” said Rich Ervin, L&I’s program manager for contractor registration. “Be wary of great bargains, lifetime guarantees and other high-pressure sales tactics.”

L&I offers these 10 tips to avoid the bad guys.