Friday, July 15, 2011

Long-awaited widening work gets under way on SR 522 in Monroe



We’ll build a new 1,700-foot bridge
to the west of the existing
Snohomish River Bridge.
by guest blogger Meghan Pembroke

This month, we kicked off work on a project that drivers and residents have been anticipating for nearly two decades: Widening a four-mile stretch of SR 522 in Monroe.

The SR 522 Snohomish River to US 2 widening project was first identified as a potential improvement project in the early 1990s. After years of design and the investments that came with the Nickel funding package, crews are finally turning ground.

The project is huge in scope: Crews will construct more than four miles of new lanes, blast and remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock, and build four new bridges – including a 1,700-foot bridge over the Snohomish River. Crews will also add a new lane in each direction, place concrete median barrier to separate oncoming traffic, build a roundabout at the busy 164th Street SE interchange, and construct a noise wall and a wildlife crossing. Not only is the project physically big, it’s also the second largest (in terms of total investment) and second-to-last Nickel project to go to construction in Snohomish County.

The massive project will take almost four years to complete, wrapping up in late 2014. And drivers will need to stay in the loop to avoid frustration and unwanted delays. Crews have already begun closing lanes on SR 522 at night to set up the work zone. Those nighttime closures – as well as closures of side streets near SR 522 – will continue throughout construction.

This fall, however, is when the real closures will get under way. To make room for the new lanes, crews will blast and remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock west of the highway. That’s about 25,000 dump-truck-loads of rock! We’ll close lanes during the day to keep our workers safe during the blasting work and to avoid detouring drivers through other construction zones in the area. Closures will take place on weekdays between 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and are expected to start in September.

If you’re a regular driver on this stretch of SR 522, you’ll want to get familiar with these tools right now:
•    Project hotline: 877-832-0303
•    Project Web page
•    Construction update report
•    Email updates