August 28, 2000
Buckling sidewalks, busy roads
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
A reprieve has been given to the stately London Plane trees that line Woodinville's downtown streets and sidewalks. The fate of the trees had been in the hands of the City since it was discovered that their menacing roots were aggressively pushing up the asphalt and cement in the road and sidewalk near the intersection of 140th Ave. NE and NE 175th.
To survey the extent of damage, the City hired an arborist to conduct exploratory work. Through this work, it was found that there were two levels of pavement on the road. The road had been elevated eighteen inches when it was built and filled in on top of an old road. The feeder roots of the London Planes are breaking up the top level of pavement only. This is good news for the trees, and for the City.
"It appears we're not going to be taking out a lot of trees," said Mick Monken, Director of Public Works. "We're going to look at saving as many as possible."
The City plans to prune the roots back and install fiberglass root barriers in October after the trees have shed their leaves. Some trees may have to be removed at a later time, but for now, Monken is hopeful all trees will stay.
The pushy roots have also been held at bay from continuing to interfere with the underground infrastructure that controlled the traffic lights. A new video detection system has been installed which works into an analog system in a computer.
Monken said of the new video system, "It has some level of intelligence." He explained that this new system knows the difference between a shadow from a moving object as opposed to a shadow from a stationary object. It can determine, he said, if a shadow is from a moving vehicle or if it's a shadow from a building or tree and is moving due to the changing position of the sun.
"It doesn't get a false reading," Monken said. The previous system that controlled traffic signals depended on magnetic sensors. This system was reliable except for the heavy loading of trucks which would sometimes break the wire in the road.
The video detection system will also be placed at the new traffic signal going in at 200th and Woodinville-Snohomish Rd. Monken said that some street scaping with deciduous trees will dress up the intersection as well.
Other plans to Woodinville's city streets include asphalt resurfacing to a number of existing roads and to some major arterials.
Northshore Paving was awarded the contract for the 2000 Asphalt Overlay project and one road on the list for resurfacing is 140th Ave. NE, the street lined with many of the reprieved London Plane trees.
In addition to paving, the first phase of road construction will begin at 133rd the week of August 28th.
The road, which will connect to the new City Hall, is being widened. 133rd will be shut down for several weeks and may not re-open until late October.
The first phase of construction will go to the north end of the new City Hall. The 2nd phase will begin a year after the City takes possession of the Sorenson property.