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Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Meghan Soptich Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Seattle)
Mark Sawyer, WSDOT project engineer, 425-225-8799 (Everett)
Crews replace failing culverts, begin overpass construction
SNOHOMISH – Construction high above and deep below US 2 near Snohomish means detours and delays for drivers this summer. Crews building a new overpass and replacing culverts under US 2 are preparing for the first of six weekend closures, starting this Friday, Aug. 3.
Drivers should plan for a full closure of eastbound US 2 between the 20th Street Southeast/SR 204 interchange and Bickford Avenue from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6. During the closure, Granite Construction crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will cut into the highway to remove and replace two deteriorating culverts.
“The culverts are massive – up to 300 feet long – and stretch underneath both directions of the highway,” said Mark Sawyer, WSDOT project engineer. “We have to divert traffic while we tear open the highway and dig them out. It’s going to take some serious work to remove these things.”
More than 15,000 drivers travel this stretch of eastbound US 2 on weekend days. Drivers can choose alternate routes around the closure or follow a signed detour on 20th Street Southeast and SR 9. The detour will add 10 to 15 minutes to most trips, but drivers traveling Saturday and Sunday afternoons should expect congestion, with up to 20 minutes of extra travel time.
The culverts underneath US 2 that carry water runoff from the roadway to nearby drainage systems are 40 years old, corroded and overdue for replacement. In a series of weekend closures between now and Oct. 1, crews will replace five of the failing steel culverts with new pipes made of thick, heavy, rubberized plastic.
“We risk potholes and sinkholes opening up in the highway if we don’t replace these worn-out culverts,” said Sawyer. “Replacing them will cut down on costly repairs and emergency closures, and prevent any further damage.”
Changes at Bickford Avenue
Eastbound US 2 drivers headed to Snohomish should also plan for changes at Bickford Avenue starting next week, as crews begin building a new overpass from Bickford Avenue to westbound US 2. To create a safe work space, crews will close the current eastbound US 2 off-ramp to Bickford Avenue as early as Friday, Aug. 10. Once the off-ramp is closed, drivers will exit from a temporary right-turn-only lane at the main US 2/Bickford intersection about 1,500 feet east of the current off-ramp. The temporary right-turn lane will be in place until the new overpass opens in fall 2013.
“This will definitely be a change for drivers who are used to exiting US 2 at highway speeds,” said Sawyer. “Now they’ll need to get into the right lane and slow down to make the 90-degree turn onto Bickford.”
There were 13 collisions at the US 2/Bickford Avenue intersection from 2006 to 2010, including eight involving drivers turning left from Bickford Avenue. Crews are building a new overpass that will allow drivers on Bickford Avenue to cross over US 2 and then merge into westbound traffic from a new right-hand on-ramp, reducing the risk of serious collisions. Eastbound US 2 drivers will exit onto Bickford Avenue using a new, longer off-ramp that will connect to the overpass.
Crews began construction in mid-July and expect to wrap up the culvert replacements by October 2012. Work on the new Bickford Avenue overpass will continue through fall 2013. For more information on the $22.4 million project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/US2/BickfordSafety.
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