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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Jamie Holter, WSDOT communications manager, 206-440-4698 (Shoreline)
Hien Trinh, WSDOT project engineer, 425-956-2153 (Bellevue)
I-5 still needs repairs throughout King County
TUKWILA - The nightly lane closures are over in Tukwila and drivers now have smoother sections on I-5, just in time for fall rains. Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation ripped out and replaced 58 of the worst concrete panels in the area.
“Of the thousands of concrete panels worn down from decades of use, these particular panels we fixed really rattled teeth and bones,” said Lorena Eng, WSDOT regional administrator. “We’ve received lots of emails from drivers begging us to fix these areas. They were in really poor shape.”
In a quick, emergency contract that began Oct. 12, contractor crews from Issaquah-based C. A. Carey closed lanes overnight between S. 200th Street and Southcenter to cut out and replace the badly cracked and broken sections of concrete. While most repairs went smoothly, a section of 22 panels were in such bad shape, they cracked and broke apart during the Oct. 19 morning commute forcing WSDOT and the contractor to close lanes on northbound I-5 for 14 hours.
“That race to repair the failing panels was a first for us,” said Eng. “It’s a clear sign this roadway needs to be completely replaced sooner rather than later.”
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 early summer 2012 on I-5 near S. 260th Street in Kent and between the University District and Roanoke Avenue.
Hyperlinks within the news release
I-5 project website www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/panelreplacement/
I-5 pavement rehabilitation www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/rehab/
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