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Island County road patching is prelude to paving

The road construction season is underway in Island County, which means drivers can expect delays, the summertime smell of hot asphalt and, in the end, smoother roads.

Work crews are busy preparing the base, surface, and roadside for 26 miles of roads that will be resurfaced this summer as part of the county’s paving and oiling program.

Part of the preliminary work includes patching on West Beach Road, Fort Nugent Road, Bush Point Road and many other county byways.

Public Works Director Bill Oakes explained at a recent county meeting that some people have been concerned after seeing the patching work, thinking it was the final product. But Oakes said not to worry — paving is on its way.

“The patching is to structurally repair areas where cracking is evident,” he said. “These cracks are an indication that the road is starting to fail.”

The cracked roads are ground up, amended and compacted to provide a more stable road base. The work is done ahead of the final resurfacing.

The county crews will be performing all the patching work through July. Resurfacing work may begin in late July and be completed as early as September, weather permitting. Paving contractors will be installing the asphalt overlays while the sealcoat resurfacing will be performed by county crews.

In addition, the county has two major construction projects on Whidbey under way this summer: Frostad Road improvements and West Beach Road widening.

The Frostad Road improvement project began weeks ago. The contractor, Strider Construction Company, is beginning the road work and installing retaining walls that will provide stability for the road base.

In order to increase safety and productivity, Frostad Road is closed during the workday between Highway 20 and Dike Road. There are detour signs alerting motorists in advance of the road closure, providing alternate routes. Now that the Fourth of July is over, the road closure has been changed to a full day closure during weekdays. The road will be open to two-way traffic on weekends. Of course, the road is always open for residents, emergency responders and mail delivery. This project is expected to continue through November.

The West Beach Road widening project is progressing very well, Oakes said. The contractor, Krieg Construction, is anticipating paving toward the middle of July. Guard rails will be installed after the paving is complete.

Motorists are asked to use caution while driving through construction zones and follow directions provided by the flaggers.

Go www.islandcounty.net/publicworks for a complete list of roads in the paving-and-oiling program and for an up-to-date schedule.

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