CENTRALIA – On Thursday, May 8, crews widening Interstate 5 between Mellen Street and Blakeslee Junction start the first of many full overnight closures of Reynolds Avenue for demolition of two narrow, outdated bridges.
Washington State Department of Transportation contractor Scarsella Bros. Inc. will close Reynolds Avenue at I-5 starting at 6 p.m. each weeknight. Crews will reopen by 5 a.m. each weekday.
The roadway will be closed around the clock on weekends. Demolition work is expected to take up to three weeks.
Week one closure schedule
• 6 p.m. Thursday, May 8, to 5 a.m. Friday, May 9
• 6 p.m. Friday, May 9, to 5 a.m. Monday, May 12
• 6 p.m. Monday, May 12, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 13
• 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, May 14
• 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, to 5 a.m. Thursday, May 15
• 6 p.m. Thursday, May 15, to 5 a.m. Friday, May 16
Drivers could also encounter full closures of Reynolds Avenue during the daytime, depending on railroad schedules. Two sets of railroad tracks run across Reynolds and underneath I-5 in this location, complicating work and the scheduling of closures.
“Trains take precedence over vehicular traffic and our construction work,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Colin Newell. “Since we have to schedule demolition work around train schedules, we won’t know exactly when we might have to close Reynolds during the day until we get those schedules a day or two beforehand.”
The best way for travelers to get up-to-date closure information is to email WSDOT at ReynoldsClosure@wsdot.wa.gov and request to be added to a closure-notification list. WSDOT staff will provide 24-hour notice of closures through this email account.
Drivers in the vicinity of I-5 and Reynolds Avenue can tune to 1580 AM, WSDOT’s highway advisory radio, for the latest closure information. Social media users can follow updates on Twitter.
WSDOT and Scarsella Bros. will also work diligently to accommodate school bus schedules. Centralia School District buses run along Reynolds Avenue from 6:20 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. each weekday.
Construction activities and timeline
Today, northbound I-5 drivers travel on the old, two-lane bridge. Southbound I-5 drivers are traveling on a new, 58-foot-wide structure completed last fall.
The southbound structure was designed to temporarily accommodate four 11-foot-wide lanes. On May 15, crews will shift northbound I-5 to the new southbound structure and begin demolishing the old northbound bridge.
The old I-5 bridges are expected to be removed by late May, depending on weather. Crews are scheduled to begin construction on the new, wider northbound I-5 bridge in July, with completion expected in summer 2015.
Work is part of the four-mile-long I-5 Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction project. The project constructs new collector-distributor lanes, a couplet system at Mellen Street, safety improvements north of Blakeslee Junction, congestion relief at the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges, and a new local travel option via the Louisiana Avenue-Airport Road connection.
Improvements are funded through the 2005 gas tax. The project is the last in an eight-year-long, $168 million effort to improve safety and congestion on I-5 in Lewis and south Thurston counties.