Project on schedule as crews shift northbound I-5 traffic tomorrow, May 15
CENTRALIA – Construction crews demolishing the old southbound Interstate 5 bridge over Reynolds Avenue in Centralia made good progress during the first week of work, bringing down more than half of the narrow, 60-year-old structure.
Since May 8, Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor, Scarsella Bros. Inc., has closed Reynolds Avenue at I-5 each weeknight and around the clock over the weekend. The closures allowed crews to crunch up the concrete and steel that once formed a bridge over the city street.
“We’re on track as we head into the second week of demolition,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Colin Newell. “Thursday evening we’ll shift northbound I-5 traffic to the new southbound bridge over Reynolds. By the time drivers head out for work and school Friday, everyone will be on the same bridge – temporarily.”
The new southbound bridge over Reynolds Avenue was completed last fall. At 58 feet wide, it has enough room to accommodate four 11-foot traffic lanes, median barrier and narrow shoulders.
“We built the new southbound structure knowing we’d have to put all lanes of I-5 on it during the final phase of construction,” said Newell. “There’s plenty of room, which is good, because everyone will share that bridge for more than a year while we build the new northbound bridge.”
Before crews can start construction on the new bridge, they have to get the old ones out of the way. Scarsella is scheduled to start demolishing the old northbound I-5 bridge next week, which requires continued closures of Reynolds Avenue.
Week two closure schedule
• 6 p.m. Thursday, May 15, to 5 a.m. Friday, May 16
• 6 p.m. Friday, May 16, to 5 a.m. Monday, May 19
• 6 p.m. Monday, May 19, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 20
• 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, May 21
• 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, to 5 a.m. Thursday, May 22
• 6 p.m. Thursday, May 22, to 5 a.m. Friday, May 23
Crews will also close the northbound I-5 on-ramp from Harrison Avenue, the next interchange south of Reynolds, from 9 p.m. Thursday, May 15, until 5 a.m. Friday, May 16. Closing the on-ramp helps facilitate the I-5 traffic shift.
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 is overhauling 4 miles of I-5 in Centralia. The I-5 Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction 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.
The project is funded through the 2005 gas tax and 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.