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King County will fix tree root bumps in Sammamish River Trail next month

Keeping bumps caused by tree roots is a never-ending battle on the trail. Image via Google Street View
Keeping bumps caused by tree roots is a never-ending battle on the trail. Image via Google Street View
If you bike the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell, then I’ve got some great news for you just in from King County.

Say goodbye to root bumps in the westernmost couple miles of the trail. Starting after Labor Day, crews will fix the bumps and install preventative tree root barriers.

The work will require people on bikes to dismount and walk for sections. Some trees will also be removed as part of the project.


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Details from King County:

Users of King County Parks’ Sammamish River Trail through Bothell will soon experience a smoother walk, run or ride, thanks to a King County project to remove protruding roots and repave portions of the trail.

Beginning Sept. 3, crews will remove trees with roots that are coming up through the surface along portions of the westernmost 2-½-mile-long stretch of the trail. A new root barrier system will also be installed, and all areas where the work occurs will be repaved.

While the scope of work does not warrant the closing of the trail, users should expect delays of up to 15 minutes during tree removal activities. Bicycle users should be prepared to dismount and walk around the construction zone, as directed by flaggers.

Work is scheduled for Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the project is expected to be wrapped up by the end of September. There will be no weekend work.

The Sammamish River Trail is one of King County Parks’ most-popular trails. At 10.9 miles in length, the trail connects the Burke-Gilman Trail to King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond, and is popular with walkers, runners and bicyclists, including many commuters.


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17 responses to “King County will fix tree root bumps in Sammamish River Trail next month”

  1. rob

    just rode through here last weekend. some of those root bumps are pretty big, and they don’t really stick out much visually. ive got kinda fat tires on my bike and it soaks up the bumps ok. i don’t know how folks riding racy road bikes with 23cm tires keep it together when hitting some of these.

    1. Jeff Dubrule

      23cm is probably a bit wider than your tires ;-)

  2. Jeff Dubrule

    *like*, but the Burke-Gilman bumps are generally worse…

    1. Jonathan

      Way worse. I ride a hybrid and there’s one spot of 5 or 6 root bumps in a row in the U village that feels like it’s going to throw me off my bike. I keep wondering if they’ll ever do anything about that section, considering the UW wants to redo the entire trail soon.

      1. Gary Anderson

        The root bumps on the BGT on the UW campus are especially hard to see since much of that section of trail is in the shade. Is the UW responsible for maintaining this part of the trail or is it the city?

  3. Windsphere

    Port of Seattle can you fix your portion of the “Root filled” Elliot Bay Trail next to the BNSF Railroad (the trail that gets you to Ballard) – that would make a lot of cyclist happy.

    1. Gary Anderson

      I second this request. It’s especially bad just north of the railroad track overpass. Seems like the city has a hotline for pothole repair — wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tree root repair hotline :-).

  4. Haley

    Just rode the Burke to Sammamish yesterday. At least the Sammamish ones were very clearly marked with spray paint, excited to hear that means they’ll be fixed. I would love if someone would at least mark the Fremont and UW bumpy sections on the Burke, bumps are annoying but much better if you at least know they’re coming!

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I wonder if there’s a glow-in-the-dark spray paint that would work…

      1. Steve

        That would be an interesting experiment. They do make glow in the dark spray paint, I wonder if it would actually be visible enough at night? Or get enough light to recharge during winter? FYI I think the Sammamish bumps were painted by the Obliteride organizers but whoever it was, thanks.

      2. My experience with glow-in-the-dark paint (on a bike) suggests that it probably wouldn’t stay bright too far into the evening. However, most people traveling at night use lights, so reflective paint might help. It’s sort of expensive…

  5. Jim Laudolff

    That is cool! I commute through there everyday. The bumps and roots got painted about a year ago. I thought, “does paint really fixe roots?” Then a few small areas were leveled about a month ago but the fix was no better and I was quite upset. I am glad they are going to fix it correctly. I just hope it does not end up being a project that gets abandoned or that takes forever to complete like the UW Bothell section.

  6. Kate Martin

    I have found over the years that the tree species that are most likely to push their roots out on the surface and heave pavements are cherries, birch, katsura, and pines. We should really have policies to not plant any of them anywhere near trails, sidewalks, or any other pavement. As you’re walking along Seattle sidewalks and come to a heaved section, just look in the planting strip and most of the time you will find a cherry tree. Yikes.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I believe the city does have such policies about street trees (SDOT’s urban forestry program).

      The problem is: They didn’t have it back when the trees were planted.

  7. Matthew

    A few months ago, a crew was out on the Burke-Gilman just west of the Fremont Bridge (where it runs between the water and the Google offices). They diligently marked with white spray paint every tree root bump and other imperfection in the paved surface. The logical next step was to go in and fix the problem spots that had been marked.

    Now months have passed, no work has been done, and the spray painted marks are all fading and nearly gone. What gives? Seems like a strange way to spend limited resources.

    1. Steve

      I noticed today that there are NEW markings, this time in orange instead of white. Perhaps NOW they’ll go in and fix them? I commute over this section daily, it’s pretty terrible!

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