Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer construction season: A primer

We’ll be replacing four culverts throughout the
region this summer, including this one at
Coe Clemons Creek in Duvall.
 by Michael Allende

The Byrds sang (I’m paraphrasing) “To everything there is a season.”  Indeed. You’ve got baseball season. Ski season. Tourist season.

In WSDOT’s case, we have summer construction season. And that season is coming up quickly. With 30 new projects under construction in 2015 (not counting the ongoing major projects on SR 99, SR 520, I-90  and I-405) between King County and Whatcom County, there’s going to be plenty going on to make our roads safer and smoother for drivers.

What areas are we specifically addressing this summer season?
  • Aging infrastructure: Preservation of our aging highways is vital to keeping the region moving. By repaving targeted areas, preserving bridges through cleaning, replacing expansion joints and concrete panels, we can extend the useful life of our roadways. Nine of the new projects this year involve pavement preservation and repair. Many of these highways haven’t been paved in at least 20 years.
  • Congestion relief: With the population continuing to grow in the region, safety and congestion relief continues to be a priority. We have more than a half dozen projects that will address some of those needs. We’ll extend the southbound SR 167 HOT lanes, improve some exits to separate traffic on SR 520 and install a new ramp meter in Bellevue, all of which should help with traffic flow.
  • Bridge preservation: Keeping our bridges structurally sound and safe for drivers is always a major priority and with four bridge preservation projects planned, we’ll take big steps in that goal. With two bridge painting jobs, replacing nearly two dozen I-90 anchor cables and a major expansion joint replacement in Snohomish County, construction crews will be very busy working to keep our infrastructure in good shape. 
  • Culvert replacement: Four culverts will be replaced throughout the region this summer, including two in Skagit/Whatcom counties and two others in King County.

Many of our projects this summer involve paving work and road
repair in order to preserve our aging highways and give drivers
a safer, smoother trip. Many of these roads haven’t been
re-paved in at least 20 years.

A major expansion joint replacement project on
I-5 in Snohomish County will help keep the Ebey,
Union and Steamboat Slough bridges
structurally sound.
You can find more information about all of these projects on our 2015 Northwest Region construction season website. Between the new traffic and maintenance projects, we’ll spend about $193 million to maintain our infrastructure and keep drivers moving safely and smoothly.

All of this work will, however, require lane closures and could result in some added congestion. But you can stay ahead of the game by being plugged in and always knowing what’s going on before leaving your home. Our Northwest Construction Update and What’s Happening Now pages list scheduled closures and are updated regularly. Our Seattle Traffic page has a real-time traffic map, travel times and information about things that may be blocking lanes. On Twitter, follow @wsdot and @wsdot_traffic for real-time information on projects, closures and traffic. Consider subscribing to our email/text alerts for information about areas you travel and projects you’re interested in. Downloading our free mobile app will keep you in the loop on what’s going on out on the roads so you can spend more time having fun and less time sitting in traffic.