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I-5 Samish Way ramp to remain closed another month in Bellingham

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Date:  Thursday, May 24, 2012

Contact: Dustin Terpening, WSDOT communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)
Chris Damitio, WSDOT project engineer, 360-788-7403 (Bellingham)

BELLINGHAM – The Samish Way on-ramp to northbound Interstate 5 in Bellingham has been closed since April and will remain closed one more month while crews finish building a retaining wall to support and lengthen the ramp.

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor, Vetch Construction, is building a 900-foot-long retaining wall so that the Samish Way ramp can be lengthened to help make it easier for drivers to get up to speed and merge with traffic.

“We had hoped to open the longer ramp by the end of this month, but the retaining wall is taking longer to complete than anticipated,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Chris Damitio.

There were 15 anchors (out of 112) in the retaining wall that did not pass a strength test and have to be repaired. The repairs have added a few additional weeks of work to the closure. Anchors are long pieces of rebar that are drilled and cemented into the hillside to hold the wall in place.

“Crews are repairing the anchors now,” said Damitio. “We can’t lengthen the ramp without a strong retaining wall, and the anchors are what hold the wall in place.”

The Samish Way on-ramp is now expected to open by the end of June. When completed, the ramp will be an additional 950 feet longer than it is today.

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