Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-905-2058 (Vancouver)
CENTRALIA – Construction crews widening Interstate 5 will pour the concrete deck for the last of three new bridges Monday, March 18. The bridge will carry southbound I-5 traffic over Reynolds Avenue and the Blakeslee Junction railroad crossing.
Cascade Bridge LLC, contractor for the Washington State Department of Transportation, has made steady progress on the first stage of the I-5, Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction project to improve safety and traffic flow between Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue.
“The way Cascade Bridge is approaching their work is really efficient,” said WSDOT project engineer Colin Newell. “They’re using the ‘assembly line’ method on these bridges, doing one right after another, which makes good use of time and keeps construction moving.”
After the concrete hits rebar on the new bridge Monday, workers will have poured three new bridge decks in just four weeks. That’s about 1,500 cubic yards, or 150 truckloads, of concrete in all. Once all of the bridge decks are ready, crews will build concrete barrier, texture the driving surfaces and protect them with a coat of sealant.
“At that point, Stage 1 will basically be done, and we’ll head into construction on Stage 2,” Newell said.
The second stage of this $155 million, gas-tax-funded project completes two collector distributor lanes and the Louisiana Avenue/Airport Road connection, builds a couplet bridge between Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue and restores the I-5 bridges over the Skookumchuck River.
Stage 2 construction is scheduled to begin this summer. The entire project is expected to be complete in 2015.