By guest blogger Bob Hooker, WSDOT Assistant Project Engineer
Snow, isn’t it spring time? I asked myself that question earlier this month while I was driving to Easton where WSDOT and contractor crews were hard at work on our I-90 Lake Easton to Bullfrog Project. We hit the ground running in April and were preparing the ground for new concrete when a snow and rain storm rolled in. If you’ve ever seen a concrete pour for a new driveway, or someone placing hot mix asphalt for a new parking lot, you know rain can cause big problems for crews trying to get a high quality, smooth product. So, for a few days we had no choice but to go home and wait out the storm. We went back to the drawing board with our contractor, Gary Merlino Construction Co., of Seattle, to devise a new plan to complete the concrete replacement work and have all lanes on I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass open by the busy Memorial Day weekend. One important piece of the plan was how we were going to make up for the lost time caused by unseasonable weather. The answer was simple, crews had to put in some very long days, extra crews and equipment were brought in, and on a few occasions, worked around the clock to complete the work on time.
All those long hours paid off. On May 19, we poured the last section of new concrete roadway and the following week on May 27 we hit our goal! We had the newly constructed lanes open to traffic for the busy Memorial Day Holiday weekend.
I know the added travel times were difficult to deal with during your travels over the pass. I too was stuck in the backups and understand it’s frustrating to plan for an extra hour or two added travel time. That’s why I want to personally thank you for your patience and support. It wasn’t easy, but I’m proud to be a part of a project that provides a smoother ride, will increase the life of the roadway, preserve the road surface to handle heavy traffic and freight trucks on I-90, and supports 135 jobs.