Local Information

WSDOT springs into resurfacing work on several NW Washington highways

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 12:31

Andrea E. Petrich, communications, 360-757-5963
Shane Spahr, project engineer, 360-848-7103

Plan for delays on SR 9, 11, 20, 531 and 539 starting March 19

ARLINGTON – Crews will spread a new thin layer of pavement on nearly 40 miles of road, on seven highways in four counties between spring and fall 2018. This new surface will help preserve these highways, but also means weeks of lane closures and delays for drivers and people riding bicycles while it is completed.

Daytime lane closures
Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews from Granite Construction are starting daytime lane closures Monday, March 19. Crews will start nightime work next week on State Route 531 in Arlington and daywork on SR 9 near Big Lake.

Work hours vary on depending on the highway, but travelers should expect delays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday on most of the highways. Traffic will alternate through the work zones. Depending on traffic volumes, drivers should factor extra time into their trips.

Stages of work
In 2018 WSDOT contractor crews will resurface nearly 40 miles of highway, including this stretch on SR 531.The resurfacing work will take place in two stages. First, from March 19 to July, the crews will seal cracks, repair damaged pavement, dig out potholes and fill wheel ruts. Drivers should plan for delays of up to 20 minutes during this phase of work.

The second stage will begin in July when temperatures are hotter. The crews place a mixture of oil, sand and gravel mixture on the road to form the new asphalt. They must wait for it to dry before reopening lanes to traffic to prevent it from spraying up on vehicles. Where possible, crews only apply this mix between the white fog lines, to leave a smoother surface on shoulders for cyclists.

“The mixture needs hotter temperatures to cure properly,” said Project Engineer Shane Spahr. “Even during the summer, nighttime temperatures are too low for this type of work.  While we want our work to cause as few headaches as possible for travelers, with this project, we need the daytime summer temperatures to help set the materials, which means commuters on these highways will need to plan for long daytime delays.”

Travelers should allow an extra 45 minutes in travel time during the second stage of work.

Highways crews will resurface
Work will occur in the following locations: 

  • Snohomish County: SR 530 and SR 531
  • Island County: SR 20
  • Skagit County: SR 9, SR 11 and SR 20
  • Whatcom County: SR 11, SR 539 and SR 542.

For a more detailed look at the work areas on each highway, visit the northwest Washington resurfacing project website.

Crews will work on multiple stretches of highway at a time. Updated schedules will be posted each Friday on the construction update page. This work will affect anyone who drives, cycles or walks along these stretches of highway.

Weather conditions could cancel work in one area and push crews to another one instead. Those changes will be posted as soon and possible on the WSDOT North Twitter account.

Talk with WSDOT engineers
WSDOT engineers will be available to answer your questions about this or other area transportation projects during an open house in Sedro-Woolley.North entrance to Sedro-Woolley High School

  • 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at Sedro-Woolley High School, 1235 3rd St.

People should enter the open house through the doors on Nelson Street under the old Union High engraving, between 3rd and 4th Streets. There is parking available on both sides of the building, bike parking near the doors and convenient bus stops on 3rd Street.


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