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SR 522 rock blasting complete ahead of schedule

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Date:  Friday, June 07, 2013

Contact: Kris Olsen, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Shoreline)
Janice Fahning, project engineer, 425-225-8725 (Everett)

Work continues to widen the highway near Monroe

MONROE –Drivers who use State Route 522 near Monroe are already enjoying an immediate benefit after the highway widening project hit a major milestone this month. Rock blasting work that closed the highway for an hour two mornings each week since last summer is now complete. As a result, drivers will no longer need to use a 10-mile detour. Major blasting work finished ahead of schedule. Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews removed 327 thousand cubic yards of rock and dirt during 10 months of blasting.

“Getting the blasting and rock removal work done is a big step for this job,” said WSDOT project engineer Janice Fahning. “Now we can continue moving forward on building the new westbound lanes and creating a safer, more efficient highway for drivers.”

No additional daytime highway closures are planned, although some may occasionally occur if rock blasting is needed to install drainage systems.

When contractor Scarsella Brothers, Inc. began the blasting work July 30, 2012, it was expected to take a full year. Multiple rock outcroppings on the west side of SR 522 needed to be leveled in order to widen the highway.

“As work progressed, Scarsella was able to safely increase the amount of rock they removed with each blast,” Fahning said. “They were also quick to haul out rock and debris so they could move on to the next area. As a result, they finished this work early and didn’t need full road closures anymore, which saves drivers some time and hassle.”

By the numbers

  • 327 thousand cubic yards: amount of rock and dirt removed
  • 12,000: number of truckloads required to haul the rock and dirt
  • 50 tons: estimated weight of each load hauled
  • 46: blasts
  • 70: number of road closures for blasting, tree removal and rock removal without explosives
  • 147: estimated number of closures that would be required for rock and debris removal work. The contractor used 70.

Learn more about the widening work at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR522/Widen/SnoRiver_US2/default.htm. Photos are also available on Flickr.

When this project is complete in 2014, drivers will have faster, safer trips on this busy stretch of SR 522. New lanes, four new bridges and median barrier will help improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and reduce the risk of head-on collisions.


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