Kris Olsen, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704
All lanes open after crews replace aging expansion joints
SEATTLE – Contractor crews scored a touchdown of their own this morning when they hit their goal of reopening all northbound lanes of Interstate 5 into Seattle before the Seahawks kick off their final drive for a berth in the Super Bowl.
The lanes between South Spokane Street and Yesler Way reopened ahead of schedule at 8:55 a.m., a little more than six hours before the roar of the 12th Man fills CenturyLink Field for this afternoon’s NFC Championship Game.
The lanes were closed at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, to begin the process of replacing expansion joints that are breaking apart and threatening to pop up into traffic. During the weekend closure, crews with PCL Construction replaced the left halves of four joints spanning the width of the roadway.
Even though many drivers avoided the area Saturday during the closure, traffic still backed up to South Spokane Street, more than a mile south of the work. Drivers traveling through the workzone experienced delays of up to 55 minutes. The Washington State Department of Transportation thanks drivers for choosing alternate routes, allowing extra time and using other forms of transportation while crews completed this important safety work.
“We know how difficult it is for people to change their weekend plans and how excited people are for today’s big game,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Aleta Borschowa. “That’s why we got in, got the work done and got off the highway as quickly as possible.”
Expansion joints help maintain a smooth driving surface by allowing the highway to expand and contract with changing weather. Replacing old expansion joints not only helps preserve I-5 well into the future, it also saves drivers hours of unexpected delays caused by emergency highway repairs.
This weekend’s was the first of nine scheduled closures. The second is scheduled for next weekend, beginning 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26:
What drivers can do
Drivers who need to travel north through Seattle next weekend should plan ahead for construction and create a commuting strategy:
• Allow extra time to travel through the work zone.
• Consider alternate routes such as I-405 or state routes 99 or 599.
• Ride transit, carpool or use other alternate forms of transportation.
• Travel early in the morning or later in the evening or reschedule discretionary trips.
Tools for drivers
WSDOT has many resources available to drivers to help them navigate the closures. The tools will also help drivers get through traffic headed into Seattle for the Seahawks’ game:
Expansion joint replacement on I-5 is part of a $13.5 million, two-phase project. The project lasts through early spring. For more information, please visit the project website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/SeattleBridgeRepair/.