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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Jamie Holter, WSDOT communications manager, 206-440-4698 (Seattle)
Hien Trinh, WSDOT project engineer, 425-956-2153 (Bellevue)
WSDOT contractor will close lanes overnight to replace cracking concrete near Southcenter
TUKWILA – Ever had to check to see if your coffee spilled as you drove Interstate 5 in south King County? Those days are numbered as a project launches this week to tear out and replace the most damaged concrete in the Southcenter area.
Starting Thursday, Oct. 13, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation begin six weeks of night work on I-5 between South 200th Street and I-405. This quick, high-impact construction project means temporary delays for nighttime drivers.
“This tackles a tiny piece of the larger pavement problem we have in King County,” said Lorena Eng, WSDOT regional administrator. “Rebuilding I-5 in King County is a $2 billion project that we are addressing little by little. That kind of money is hard to come by.’
The uneven, cracked pavement near Southcenter is the subject of many emails to WSDOT. For years, maintenance crews have closed lanes in the dead of night to pour liquid asphalt in the cracks to eliminate the most jarring potholes in time for the morning commute.
“The road is deteriorating more quickly than we can fix it,” Eng said. “The hot-asphalt Band-Aids aren’t working anymore.” Mindful of the limited highway preservation funds available, maintenance staff identified 58 concrete panels that must be replaced before winter to keep the pavement performing at its best.
WSDOT awarded Issaquah-based C.A. Carey the $1.1 million contract to tear out and replace the panels with new concrete and reinforced steel. Each panel is 15 feet long, 12 feet wide and 9 inches deep. The new panels will be connected to the old panels to keep the road surface strong and even.
The panels are grouped into seven separate locations in both directions of I-5 between South 216th Street and the I-405 interchange. Crews will close up to three lanes overnight during the week from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on the weekend from 8 p.m. to 11 a.m. WSDOT and C.A. Carey will work around Husky, Cougar and Seahawks games and other fall construction closures. Construction closures will be posted on the website and on the road each day and on the What’s Happening Now page.
Concrete on I-5 in King County is nearly 50 years old. It is cracking, crumbling and falling apart. An estimated 250,000 vehicles depend on I-5 daily. The estimated cost to replace all concrete roadway panels on I-5 throughout King County is more than $2 billion.
As WSDOT works with the Legislature to identify funding for the multi-billion dollar I-5 preservation project, WSDOT has a systematic plan to use $123 million to incrementally fix the highway. Past repairs included work on I-5 between James and Olive in 2005, smoothing the highway between I-90 and Spokane Street in 2007 and several miles of I-5 just north of downtown Seattle in 2009. More work is scheduled for 2017.
Hyperlinks within the news release:
• I-5 Panel Replacement www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/panelreplacement/
• King County construction update report www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/King/Construction/i5Construction.htm
• I-5 Boeing Access Road to Snohomish County line www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/seattlepavementrepair/
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