Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 •
Communications Manager

Jan. 2, 2018

Starting tomorrow morning (Jan. 3, 2018) drivers traveling Steilacoom Boulevard at its intersection with Lakewood Drive will see additional signage reminding of the 20-mile-per-hour school zone.

The new signs are mounted on the traffic signal poles at the four-way signalized intersection and will illuminate only during school zone hours in the morning and afternoon. Their purpose is to remind drivers stopped at the light that the speed limit remains 20 mph through the school zone covering Lochburn Middle School, Harrison Preparatory School and Four Heroes Elementary.

After monitoring traffic through the intersection during school zone hours, the Lakewood Police Department saw that drivers at the red light often did not maintain the 20 mph speeds once the light turned green. Instead they returned to non-school zone speeds, even though they were still in the school zone.

More than a year ago Police Chief Mike Zaro brought the concern to the Public Works Department, and the departments worked together to come up with a plan to slow traffic.

The result was purchasing the signs to be posted at the intersection of the two busy arterials to remind drivers the school zone speed limit extends past the light.

Included with this project was the lengthening of the existing bracket holding the 20 mph school zone sign and flashing lights located on the north side of Steilacoom Boulevard next to the Echelon Apartments. This change makes the school zone sign and flashers more visible to drivers headed westbound, extending visibility to 400 feet before reaching the school zone.

Dec. 29, 2017

It's that time of year again where we see our MyLakewood311 reports of potholes skyrocket as the outside temperatures plummet.

The variation in temperatures causes our roads to shrink, expand, crack and poof! potholes appear.

Looking at the numbers for December, the city received 51 reports of potholes to our 311 app. In some cases the same pothole is reported more than once, but compared to the warmer summer months where few potholes were reported, it's safe to say we've entered pothole season.

The city places a high priority on its roads and preventing potholes from forming. It does this through its crack and chip sealing programs. That’s where compromised roads – or roads with cracked pavement – are identified and a patch or seal is placed over the impaired area to eliminate the possibility for water to seep in and cause disruption.

Since incorporation the city has always contracted its road repair work out. But this summer it tried something new.

A pilot project aimed at fixing trouble areas around the city notorious for potholes was initiated. Through the program the city rented equipment that allowed its operations and maintenance crew the ability to grind up sections of pavement, apply hot asphalt and finally a sealant to the roadway.

The idea was to see how efficient it would be to do this work in-house. Crews set out with an estimate of being able to patch 3,000 square feet of pavement during the month-long pilot.

Instead they patched nearly 9,500 square feet.            

The success of the program showed that if the city owned or leased the necessary equipment its crews could spread the pothole patching throughout the year, allowing for potholes to be patched as they arise.

As a result, a request for the program will be part of the 2019-2020 biennial budget planning.

Even with the equipment in-house, remember we can’t fix every road at once, and an onslaught of bad weather (think snow followed by heavy rainfall) speeds up road deterioration and prevents us from patching the roads immediately. Heavy rainfall and cooler temperatures also limit the type of patches applied.

So please be patient as we work to repair the roadways and don’t forget to use the free MyLakewood311 mobile app to report those potholes!

See our Lakewood Operations & Maintenance crew at work patching a section of Gravelly Lake Drive SW this summer.

From WSDOT, Dec. 28, 2017:

DUPONT – Drivers who use southbound Interstate 5 near Mounts Road will encounter overnight lane and ramp closures Dec. 28 and 29, 2017. The closures allow crews working for Sound Transit to continue repairing damage to the rail bridge resulting from the Dec. 18 derailment. 

Thursday, Dec. 28

  • Southbound I-5 approaching Mounts Road will be reduced to a single lane from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 29. The Mounts Road on-ramp to southbound I-5 will also close during the same hours.

Friday, Dec. 29

  • Southbound I-5 approaching Mounts Road will be reduced to a single lane from 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 30. The Mounts Road on-ramp to southbound I-5 will also close during the same hours.

Drivers are encouraged to plan for extra travel time.

Questions about repair work being performed should be directed to Sound Transit communicator Rachelle Cunningham.

Advance information for highway construction and maintenance is available at the Olympic Region Weekly Construction and Traffic Updates web page.

Set the tone for a healthy, active lifestyle in the new year and participate in our New Year's Day 5k and 1 mile walk/run. This is a perfect way to get outdoors with your family and start 2018 off right. 

The 5k course through Fort Steilacoom Park offers a wide variety of paved and trail components and is good for runners of all speeds.

Everyone is welcome (so are strollers, but please be mindful of other runners on the narrow trail sections). Walking more your speed? You can walk the 5k, or sign up for the free 1-mile Walk/Run, which is also great for kids and families.

Register here ($35 if registered before Dec. 31; $40 day-of registration). Registration closes at 9:30 a.m. day of race. Race begins at 10 a.m. Park in the lot by the dog park and register by the barns.

We can't wait to see you there!

Last week Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro visited Tillicum Elementary School where he awarded three students with his newly-created Chief’s Commendation Award.

The award was created to recognize elementary school students for community service and/or public safety by demonstrating one of the four applicable criteria:

  • Integrity: honesty and strong moral principles
  • Dedication: commits energy and time to an important project or idea
  • Teamwork: works in an effective and efficient way with others
  • Courage: shows strength in the face of adversity
  • Competence: successfully and/or efficiently accomplishes a task or role
  • Respect: shows admiration or deference toward a person or position

Nominations can be made quarterly, or as opportunities arise.

The Tillicum students recognized for the award were presented with a certificate at a school assembly by Chief Zaro. The recipients were:

  • Isaac Corona-Illan, third grade: Teacher Mr. Carrier wrote: “Isaac has all of the six characteristics of this award stated above. He always tells the truth. Also will work hard on any project as an individual or as a positive team member. If faced with a difficult task, he will always persevere. Finally, respect is his strongest quality.”
  • Yanzel Diaz-Guzman, fourth grade: Teacher Ms. Sheldon wrote: Yanzel is a model student. He is respectful to every student and teacher. He is hard working and can work with any student when doing group work.”
  • Jermaine Marston-Riley, fifth grade: Teacher Mr. Pelgrim wrote: “Jermaine has all the above qualities and is an outstanding role model. He cares about staff and students.”

Congratulations to the students and keep up the hard work!

Dec. 21, 2017

In light of Monday’s tragedy, it is hard to find the right words to explain everything our community experienced.

First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of the three men who lost their lives and those who were injured in Monday’s train derailment. We also offer our support to our neighbors in DuPont and our residents who are still trying to process what happened.

The South Sound community should be proud of how everyone came together to respond to this unspeakable tragedy. That includes the people who stopped their cars on Interstate 5 and ran to help train passengers out of the wreckage, to the first responders and law enforcement that raced to the scene and stayed to help reunite families and set up traffic detours, and to our medical professionals that were ready and waiting to treat patients at the trauma centers as they came in.

Thanks go to the crews that worked around the clock to remove the train cars and inspect the roadway to reopen I-5 and get traffic moving again through the region. Thanks also go to everyone impacted by the closure that were patient and adjusted their commutes and schedules to reduce the number of cars on the road.

The city was told Thursday (Dec. 21, 2017) by the Governor's Office that Amtrak trains will not return to the Point Defiance Bypass route until positive train control is installed. This advanced system is designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents occur, including train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive train speed and train movements through misaligned track switches. 

We will continue to follow the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation closely and share any pertinent information on the city’s website  as it becomes available.


The City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin is a roundup of news items, happenings and other items of note for the City of Lakewood.

Lakewood's recognizes strong and longstanding local businesses with its Business Showcase.