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Monday, April 04, 2011
Seema Javeri, WSDOT Project Engineer, 425-889-0244
Steve Peer, WSDOT Communications, 425-301-2023
BELLEVUE – During a 49-hour complete closure of Interstate 405 in Bellevue over the weekend, the public responded to help minimize traffic congestion and crews completed a long list of work, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said today.
Crews removed the old N.E. 12th Street bridge, replaced concrete panels, put up large sign bridges, installed electrical vaults and rebuilt the N.E. 8th Street on-ramp. And it was all completed ahead of schedule.
“We got a lot of work done and we got good help from drivers who took alternate routes and planned ahead to avoid the area,” said Seema Javeri, WSDOT project engineer. An estimated 450,000 vehicles use I-405 on any given weekend. During the closure, drivers experienced backups on I-5 during the peak mid-day commute but delays never stretched beyond 20 minutes.
“This shows that we have a very engaged public when it comes to construction,” added Javeri.
N.E. 12th Street bridge damaged
The teardown experienced a glitch when a large piece of concrete from the bridge being demolished struck a girder on the new bridge just a few feet away. No one was injured during the incident.
Engineers inspected the new bridge and determined that it can handle some traffic. As a precautionary measure, the bridge is reduced to one lane of westbound traffic while engineers complete an analysis of the structure. Eastbound drivers are following a signed detour using N.E. 10th Street and N.E. Eighth Street. A police officer will help direct traffic during the day. At night, when traffic is light, crews will completely close the bridge to prevent driver confusion in the work zone.
The cost to repair the new N.E. 12th Street bridge and extra traffic control measures is the responsibility of the contractor, Atkinson Construction, and not the state. The state has a $107.5 million lump-sum contract with Atkinson to build the entire project, paid for by a combination of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and the 2005 state gas tax.
The contractor is working on interim and long-term repair plans. The ultimate fix is not expected to affect the scheduled opening of the new bridge in the summer of 2012.
Other project work checked off the list
Along with removing the N.E. 12th Street bridge a few hours ahead of schedule, crews finished other important work while the freeway was closed. Consolidating the work helped minimize impacts on drivers. Crews:
• Replaced 17 worn concrete panels on the freeway.
• Installed new electrical vaults and conduit.
• Installed two sign bridges.
• Rebuilt the on-ramp from N.E. Eighth Street.
• Removed temporary construction materials from the new N.E. 12th Street bridge.
The old N.E. 12th Street bridge, built in 1970, needed to be removed to make way for new ramps headed to SR 520 and I-405. The new bridge is higher above I-405, wider, and longer and will feature a pedestrian and bicycle trail separated from traffic. The new ramp from N.E. 10th Street will connect drivers directly to SR 520, eliminating the weave with northbound I-405 traffic by summer 2012.
The work is part of the Bellevue Braids Project, which will increase safety and relieve congestion on I-405 from N.E. Eighth Street to SR 520. For project information, visit http://wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I405/NE8thtoSR520/
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