Update Jan. 9:
All lanes and ramps reopened at 9 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 9 The contractor completed the repairs several hours earlier than planned.
DUPONT – Travelers heading north on Interstate 5 through DuPont in Pierce County will see long delays on overnight Saturday, Jan. 8 and through Sunday, Jan. 9.
Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will perform emergency repairs on northbound I-5 from Center Drive to Steilacoom-DuPont Road. The work requires reducing I-5 to a single lane between milepost 117.51 near Center Drive and milepost 119.7 near Steilacoom-DuPont Road. Due to the hours-long closures, travelers can expect significant backups and delays.
WSDOT needs your help
Travelers are strongly encouraged to avoid optional travel through the work zone, to carpool and to consolidate trips. If you must travel through the area, expect long delays. Top off your tank before you go to avoid running out of fuel in the backups. Travelers are also encouraged to have emergency kits in their vehicles.
Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 the following will close:
- Northbound I-5 exit 118 to Center Drive.
- Center Drive on-ramp to northbound I-5.
- Northbound I-5 exit 119 to Steilacoom-DuPont Road.
- Steilacoom-DuPont Road to northbound I-5.
- Northbound I-5 exit to the Fort Lewis Weigh Station.
- Far right lane of northbound I-5.
At 10 p.m., northbound I-5 will be reduced to a single lane. Crews will work overnight removing the damaged roadway and replacing it with new asphalt. At 7 a.m., lanes will begin to reopen, with all lanes and ramps fully opened by early afternoon Sunday, Jan. 9.
During the closure, drivers using northbound I-5 from Center Drive or Steilacoom-DuPont Road will go south on I-5 to Mounts Road, then go north. Travelers coming north on I-5 needing to exit to Center Drive or Steilacoom-DuPont Road will detour to 41st Division Drive and return on southbound I-5 to those exits.
“Closing Interstate 5 and multiple ramps like this during daytime hours is not something we take lightly,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Maintenance Manager, Matt Beattie. “The recent freezing and thawing of this section of I-5 has led to a significant breakdown of the roadway surface,” he added.
Multiple potholes covering approximately two-miles of I-5 have formed in two of the northbound travel lanes near Center Drive at exit 118 and Steilacoom-DuPont Road at exit 119. During the recent cold weather, water made its way into the roadway surface and froze, which expanded the asphalt and allowed it to fall apart.
This week, maintenance crews performed numerous daily rolling slowdowns to temporarily fix these locations. The asphalt patches are not holding and are requiring more time to repair.
In addition, the size and number of the potholes are increasing. Crews need dry, slightly warmer weather and several hours for the asphalt mix to harden. Because of the traffic volumes and importance of keeping I-5 open for all travelers, WSDOT is initiating an emergency contract for this work.