The weather isn’t the only thing improving on Snoqualmie Pass...

Friday, April 23, 2010

by guest editor Craig Kanaya

Now that the snow has melted and spring has begun in Snoqualmie pass its that time of year again. With help from Gary Merlino Construction Co., we’re back to work on the I-90 Lake Easton to Bullfrog concrete replacement project after a planned winter season hiatus. While the construction crews are working on projects that support their families and the communities of Washington state, it also means you will start to see a lot more orange on the road and experience added travel times during your trip on I-90 across the pass. We have a lot of work to do before we complete the project in June, just in time for the peak summer travel season.  Here’s a snap shot of what we’ll be doing:
  • Crews will remove and replace a total of 1,500 concrete panels.
  • Each 12-foot by 15-foot panel weighs approximately 13 tons.  This is equivalent to the weight of almost three adult male elephants. 
  • Crews will remove a total of 7,500 cubic yards of concrete.  This would fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools.   
  • Crews will pave approximately 12,000 tons of asphalt.  This is equivalent to the weight of 25 Boeing 747 airplanes. 
  • Crews have placed approximately four miles (20,000 linear feet) of temporary concrete barrier.  This is equivalent to the height of almost 15 Empire State Buildings.
When we’re done you’ll experience a smoother, safer driving surface.  In the meantime, check the what’s happening on I-90 Web page for what to expect on I-90 between Easton (milepost 70) and Nelson Siding Road (milepost 74):

To the west of Easton on I-90 at Hyak, we’ve begun construction on the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam Project (milepost 55 to milepost 58). This is a multi-year project that improves the safety and reliability of I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass. This year, you’ll see crews finishing up the Gold Creek detour bridge, constructing new bridges, and blasting the slopes high above I-90 in order to widen the interstate from four to six lanes.

You can expect some intermittent daytime lane closures and rolling slowdowns over the next couple of weeks as crews construct new detours, but most of our future lane closures will occur during the nighttime hours. 

We understand that lane and ramp closures are never easy and the added travel times sometimes put a kink in your travel plans.  We do have some tools and strategies you can use to make things a little easier: 
  • Plan for added travel time, maintain the posted speed limit, and pay attention to signs
  • Sign up for e-mail updates 
  • Check the weekly Construction Updates Web page and traffic Web page for region-wide updates and Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM 
  • Follow WSDOT on Twitter  
  • Call the I-90 construction hotline at 888-535-0738
  • Call 5-1-1 for real time traffic and weather information

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Crews working on the I-5 bridge joint replacement in Olympia

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