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Prepare for daytime closures of SR 522 in Monroe this week

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Date:  Monday, April 23, 2012

Contact: Meghan Soptich Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Seattle)
Janice Fahning, WSDOT project engineer, 425-225-8725 (Everett)

Crews to remove trees near the highway, rock blasting begins in May

MONROE – Drivers on State Route 522 near Monroe should plan for full closures of the highway Wednesday and Thursday morning. Crews widening SR 522 between the Snohomish River Bridge and US 2 are removing trees in preparation for rock blasting in May.

“We’re gearing up for blasting and drivers should too,” said Janice Fahning, project engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “This week’s closures are a reminder for drivers to tune in and make sure they have a plan in place for when rock blasting begins.”

Crews for WSDOT’s contractor, Scarsella Brothers, will close both directions of SR 522 between Fales/Echo Lake roads and 164th Street Southeast from 10:15-11:15 a.m. Wednesday, April 25, and Thursday, April 26. During the closures, crews will remove about 100 trees on two rock faces next to the highway.

“We need to take down all of the trees and vegetation on the slopes before we can start blasting,” said Fahning. “Many of these trees will fall onto the roadway when they’re cut down, so we’re closing the highway to keep drivers safe during the work.”

Drivers can choose alternate routes or follow a signed detour using SR 9 and US 2. The detour will add about ten miles and 20 minutes to trips, depending on destination and traffic.

Rock blasting begins in late May

Rock blasting is part of a larger project to add a new lane in each direction of more than four miles of SR 522. To make space to widen the highway, crews must remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock along the westbound lanes – about 25,000 truckloads.

Blasting is expected to start as early as the week of May 21. Drivers can expect up to 150 weekday closures of SR 522 through mid-2013.

“We need people to stay engaged for the long haul,” said Fahning. “We’ll have signs in the field to alert drivers to upcoming closures, but they can also use our hotline and online tools to plan their trips.”

In addition to widening the highway, crews are building four new bridges, including a 1,700-foot-long bridge over the Snohomish River, a roundabout at 164th Street Southeast and a noise wall near 171st Avenue Southeast. They also will install median barrier to reduce the risk of head-on collisions.

The $128.8 million project is one of the final projects in Snohomish County funded by the 2003 gas tax. Crews expect to finish construction in late 2014. For more information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR522/Widen/SnoRiver_US2.


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