Public Works: New Road Performing “remarkably well”

Mayor Amy Walen, third from left, chats with a young attendee of the Nov. 19 road-opening ceremony for Northeast 120th Street. Council Members Dave Asher, far left, Toby Nixon, second from left, and Jay Arnold, far right, also participated in the event. 



Council offers 120th Street extension to public with celebration event


Northeast 120th Street is performing “remarkably well,” says Chuck Morrison, a Kirkland transportation engineer who has been closely monitoring Totem Lake traffic since the City brought the 900-foot extension onto its street network Wednesday afternoon. 
“Once people know there’s a new route there, they may change their habits,” Morrison said. “People didn’t’ go that way before and people are creative. So you never quite know what to expect. We’ll keep monitoring it for a few weeks.”

Kirkland’s City Council opened the 900-foot road to the public yesterday, after a ceremony that featured Lake Washington High School’s drum line, cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, as well as state and federal officials.

“Not only will these 900 feet improve the connectivity and traffic flow of the Totem Lake economic engine, they will also help catalyze local redevelopment,” Mayor Amy Walen told the gathering of residents and stakeholders. “And it will do this while remaining sensitive to our immediate environment through extensive water quality efforts up-steam of Totem Lake, Lake Washington and Puget Sound.”

Northeast 120th Street is the first road the City of Kirkland has built in two decades and the first prospective Greenroad on the Eastside. To achieve Greenroad status—it’s kind of like a LEED certification for roads—the City committed to a variety of environmentally sensitive strategies. 

For one, it used a warm-mix asphalt, rather than a hot-mix asphalt, which reduces the necessary temperature of the asphalt by 50- to 100 degrees. That, in turn, reduces the amount of energy to heat the asphalt. It also reduces emissions. Kirkland is also making use of LED lighting, stormwater-soaking and filtering devices and recycled pavement.

One fundamental requirement of a Greenroads certification is the road’s durability, says Jeralee Anderson, Greenroads Foundation executive director.

“To earn Greenroads certification, we ask for a minimum of a 40-year lifetime [with regular maintenance],” Anderson says. “The idea is to design for longer durability. There is substantial amount of research that says if you add a few inches of pavement [thickness], even though it will cost more in the short term, it’ll cost much less in the long run.”