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Better than blue suede shoes: I-5 expansion joint and ramp repairs in Seattle

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Date:  Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Contact: Broch Bender, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4699 (Shoreline)

SEATTLE – A lot has changed in the Emerald City since Elvis Presley visited the 1962 World’s Fair. One thing that has stayed the same, however, are scores of expansion joints on Interstate 5.

Crews have patched up these hunks of metal (pdf 1.5 mb) that allow the highway to expand and contract with changing weather through the years, but now it is time to face the music. Starting at noon Friday, July19, the same contractor who replaced 31 expansion joints on the Spokane Street interchange earlier this year returns to refresh 16 more - and resurface three ramps while they’re at it.

“Most of these joints and ramp surfaces have been around since the Space Needle was brand new,” said project engineer Aleta Borschowa. “Decades of constant use and increasingly heavy traffic have worn out the pavement and weakened these ‘classics’ beyond repair. This work is the latest in a series to bring our aging expansion joints up to date.”

Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation need 11 weekends to complete the task:

South of Interstate 90

  • There will be five weekend-long closures of the northbound and southbound I-5 Corson Avenue South off-ramps, followed by four weekend closures of the northbound off-ramp to West Seattle and South Spokane Street.

North of Mercer Street

  • Bridge joint replacement will require two weekends of multiple-lane closures on mainline northbound I-5 just north of Mercer Street starting in late August.

This weekend’s ramp closure details

Friday, July 19 – Monday, July 22

  • Northbound and southbound off-ramps to Corson Avenue South closed noon Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Detour route

  • From northbound and southbound I-5, take exit 161 to South Albro Way. Turn right on East Marginal Way South to Corson Avenue South.

Construction noise
Crews will use blasts of pressurized water to remove loose concrete on the Corson Avenue South off-ramps and the northbound I-5 ramp to West Seattle and South Spokane Street. Noisy construction may occur day and night. Nearby residents and businesses can call our 24/7 construction noise hotline at (206) 440-4DOT for more information and complimentary earplugs.

Tools for drivers

This summer’s ramp resurfacing and expansion joint replacement is the first of two phases of the $13.5 million I-5 Seattle Bridge Repair Project. In the second phase, beginning in early 2014, a series of highway-wide expansion joints on mainline I-5 near the I-90 interchange will be replaced.

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