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Street Operations

Our mission is to provide high quality, innovative and cost effective maintenance of City streets, signs, and rights-of-ways with the highest service level possible to the citizens of Tacoma.

The Street Operations Division’s 82 full time and 13 seasonal employees are responsible for maintaining:
  • 857 lane miles of main arterial streets and 8,000 residential blocks
    • Lane miles are miles of lanes as opposed to miles of street, since streets have several lanes
  • More than 38,000 street signs 
  • Many (but not all) medians, islands and roundabouts
  • 18 parks (those not maintained by Metro Tacoma Parks)
The Division’s primary efforts include the Community Service Work Crew Program, the Grounds Maintenance Program, the Street Repair and Maintenance Program, and Emergency Response. These services enhance the lives of our citizens and the quality of our neighborhoods and business districts.

Grounds Maintenance Program

Reconciliation Park The Grounds Maintenance Program is responsible for various medians, islands, roundabouts and rights-of-ways throughout the community. The program also maintains trees and landscaping, cleans up litter and removes graffiti for the Tacoma Fire Department, Tacoma Police Department, Environmental Services and following 18 City parks: 
South 10th and Pacific
South 74th and Cedar Tot Lot
Norton Memorial Park
War Memorial Park
South 15th and Dock Street
Fireman's Park
Tollefson Plaza
Gateway Park
South 17th and Jefferson
Frost Park
Ben Gilbert Park
Ledger Park
South 23rd and Grant
Harborview Park
Tacoma Park
South 5th and Division
McCormick Park
Viewpoint Park
Staff also provide clean up when private property has not been kept up to the point of violating nuisance codes.

Street Repair and Maintenance Program

The Street Repair and Maintenance Program is responsible for maintaining 857 lane miles of main arterial streets and 8,610 residential blocks. The following efforts are used to minimize sub-grade water erosion, which breaks down streets:

Permanent Pavement Repair

Crack Sealing

Crews clean a crack in the road and fill it with an elastic, rubber-based material that moves with pavement to prevent moisture from causing further harm.

Temporary Pothole Patching

Crews repair depressions by filling and compacting them with asphalt, which may provide a temporary fix for up to a year. Reported repairs are generally able to be accomplished within two to ten business days.

Permanent Pavement Repair

Specially trained crews make permanent pothole repairs with specialized equipment to remove sections of degraded pavement and replacing it with concrete or reinforced asphalt. Crews may also need to replace the underground crushed rock base material. 

Chip Seal

Crews will lay down a layer of hot liquid asphalt, follow with a layer of clean gravel and finish by rolling the gravel into the asphalt. This is used on top of an existing street to seal and even out cracked surfaces. 

Hot Mix Asphalt Overlays

Crews add a 2-inch layer of asphalt over older streets that have outlived their serviceable life. Streets selected for this treatment have often required continuous potholes repairs. Generally, City crews perform residential street work while the work on main arterial streets is performed by contractors selected through a public bidding process.
The Street Repair and Maintenance Program is also responsible for:

  • Grading approximately 1,500 blocks of gravel alleys and 78 blocks of gravel residential streets
  • More than 38,000 informational (street names, way-finding) and regulatory (stop, yield, speed limit) street signs. 
  • Repairing concrete streets 
  • Installing new ADA-compliant curb ramps to help all members of our community access services, necessities and amenities 
  • Rebuilding unsafe sidewalks adjacent to the City’s publicly-owned
     properties

The Street Operations Division’s asphalt plant also produces over 10,000 tons of asphalt per year. The City uses this material to repair City streets. The plant is currently undergoing a $300,000 retrofit that will allow staff to use recycled asphalt shingles and grindings to minimize waste and reduce asphalt oil needs.

Community Service Work Crew

Tree Removal The Community Service Work Crew (CSWC) program allows participants with low-risk misdemeanor violations, who are referred by the Tacoma Municipal Court, to perform supervised work within the city of Tacoma. The program provides significant savings to the City by reducing jail costs and booking fees, and functions as a cost recovery vehicle for otherwise unrecoverable fines. Participants who are referred to the Work Crew provide visible restitution to the community while working to fulfill their obligations to the courts. Projects typically include maintenance of rights-of-way such as litter removal, overgrown vegetation maintenance, and assistance with neighborhood cleanups. CSWC operates seven days a week from 7 AM to 3 PM.

Emergency Response

Tree Removal The Street Operations Division is available to respond to community emergencies 24/7:
  • Hazardous chemical spills 
  • Landslides 
  • Urban flooding
  • Snow and ice management 
  • Removing downed or hazardous trees impacting streetlights, traffic signals or right-of-ways 
  • Street closures in response to Tacoma Police Department and Tacoma Fire Department requests 
  • Wind and snow storms 
During the one or two major snow events that are typical each year, Street Operations maintains 410 lane miles of main arterial streets. For the travelling public’s safety, crews de-ice by applying salt brine to elevated roads, hills and shaded areas prior to frost forming. Crews also plow snow from driving lanes and may need to repair/replace damaged signs and clear catch basins drains of ice-dams or debris to prevent flooding. During such times crews may also clear snow/ice from sidewalks and stairs adjacent to City property or remove downed/hazardous trees from City property and rights-of-ways. 

Find out more about the City’s response to winter weather.