By Pat Jenkins

The Dispatch

The return of the rainy seasons in the next few months will be greeted by curvy roadways in south Pierce County that have been resurfaced to help motorists avoid sliding on wet pavement.

Two well-traveled roads in the Kapowsin and Spanaway areas are among the first in Pierce County to have what county road officials say is an innovative, "high-friction" material that's known nationally for skid-resistance and other qualities that favor safe driving.

Orting-Kapowsin Highway East's "S" curve near 152nd Avenue East, and the portion of Spanaway Loop Road South that curves near 166th Street South are scheduled for the new paving by September or October.

Those locations and three others around the county were selected for the $1 million-plus project based on the curve alignments, the speed of traffic, and the rate of fatal or serious-injury crashes.

The special paving's combination of highly-durable aggregate materials and high-strength epoxy resin increases the skid-resistance of the roadway surfaces, which can help drivers maintain better control of their vehicles on curves in wet and dry conditions alike.

County engineer Brian Stacy said the treatment "has been shown nationally to be effective at increasing safety and reducing collisions on roadway curves with a history of crashes where motorists drive off the road.”

In addition to the ones on Spanaway Loop Road South and Orting-Kapowsin Highway East, the curves that are being targeted are in the South Hill area at the intersection of 110th Avenue East and 122nd Street East, and in the Lake Tapps area at 12th Street East and 210th Avenue East and on Ninth Street East near its intersection with 190th Avenue East.

Work at the five locations will take a combined 15 days and be done on weekdays and at times other than peak-hour traffic, officials said. They said the roads will remain open during the work, but there may be some short-term lane restrictions that motorists will be informed of electronic roadside signs.

Pierce County and its Planning and Public Works Department received a $1.1 million federal grant to help pay for the project. Specialized Pavement Marking Inc., a company based in Tualatin, Ore., was awarded the contract for the project over two other bidders.