Friday, September 30, 2011

Crews are working around the clock to improve I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass before the snow falls

by guest blogger Meagan McFadden

Weather on Snoqualmie Pass is pretty unpredictable. It could be sunny one minute, then cold and rainy the next. Fall is in the air and with winter right around the corner, crews are working hard to improve a five mile section of I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass before the snow starts falling.

Our contractor, Max J. Kuney, is working around the clock on the first three miles of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam project from Hyak (milepost 55) to the Lake Keechelus Snowshed (milepost 58). So far this year crews have built the new eastbound and westbound bridges at Gold Creek and part of the animal undercrossing. They’ve built the eastbound bridge over Rocky Run Creek and poured more than 11,000 cubic yards of concrete for the new eastbound lanes, which will be open to traffic in November. Then there is the amount of rock crews brought down during blasting operations. Crews removed approximately 400,000 cubic yards of material from the slopes above I-90; that’s enough material to fill more than 33,000 dump trucks. But rock blasting isn’t done yet. Blasting closures will most likely continue until later this fall. If you’re traveling over the pass visit our What’s Happening on I-90 website for closure dates and times. This portion of the project is scheduled to be complete in 2013.

Next spring our new contractor, Guy F. Atkinson, will start improving the final two miles of the five mile I-90 project from the Lake Keechelus Snowshed (milepost 58) to the Lake Keechelus Dam vicinity (milepost 60). But until the snow starts falling this year, Atkinson crews will be working hard to cut down trees and clear the project area in preparation for next year’s construction. They’ll be crushing rock for the first layer of the new six lane highway and building up the embankments for the new lanes along Lake Keechelus near Resort Creek. This portion of the project is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

It’s been a busy 2011 construction season and as long as the weather holds, crews will continue to stay busy building a wider, safer and more reliable I-90 east of Snoqualmie pass.