Southbound I-5 project in Seattle completes major work from I-90 to Spokane Street

This 'Revive I-5' project replaced 63 expansion joints, resurfaced 1.25 miles of freeway

SEATTLE - After two summers of work, drivers on southbound Interstate 5 between I-90 and Spokane Street can now enjoy a smoother drive after the replacement of expansion joints and the overlay of new pavement.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation finished their final weekend-long lane reduction Sunday, Nov. 13, concluding major work on the project. A few weeks of overnight work remain. People using southbound I-5 should expect lane reductions weeknights between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

This "Revive I-5" project started in May 2021 when work began to repave a 1.25-mile section of southbound I-5. Crews then shifted to chipping out and replacing aging expansion joints, some as old as the freeway itself. This was the first major work on this section of roadway in more than 55 years.

"We understand that traffic was tough this summer during weekend-long lane reductions but we're grateful to see this project coming to an end and excited for drivers to experience the improved roadway," said WSDOT Project Engineer James Harper. "The freeway has held up well since it opened in the mid-1960s; this work will keep it in good condition."

Beautifying the drive

While lanes closed for expansion joint replacement and paving work, contractors painted over thousands of feet of graffiti along the interstate. The project spent more than $100,000 and used at least 600 gallons of paint to tackle the graffiti problem.

Rehabilitating I-5

The work to "Revive I-5" will continue with numerous other projects currently in the pipeline to rehabilitate and preserve the region's busiest interstate. Starting in spring 2023, the I-5/Duwamish River to South Lucile Street concrete pavement rehabilitation will replace panels and grind the highway to eliminate high spots on northbound and southbound I-5 between South Seattle and Tukwila.

In late 2023 or early 2024, the I-5 Yesler Way to NE 117th Street project will rehabilitate 8 miles of the freeway between the city center and the Northgate area north of downtown. This multi-year project includes replacing expansion joints, replacing concrete all the way down to the supporting soil and repaving other sections, including the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge.

Several other projects also will be scheduled during the coming years.

People who are traveling can get real-time traffic information on mobile phones with the WSDOT traffic app and by following the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed.

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.