Monday, February 29, 2016

#SnoCoSqueeze update

By Lisa Van Cise

**UPDATE 9:42 a.m. Thursday, March 10**: Because of heavy rain forecast for Sunday, March 13, the #SnoCoSqueeze is once again postponed and there will be no lane reductions for March 11-14. The project involves striping a work zone Friday evening with a goal of re-striping the roadway back to its normal dimensions by the Monday morning commute. Rain on either Friday or Sunday leading to water on the roadway means that lane striping can't be done. We're evaluating our options and planning to begin the work on Friday, March 18, weather permitting. **UPDATE 2:37 p.m. Thursday, March 3**: Rain is forecast again for this weekend and so the #SnoCoSqueeze is postponed. There will be no lane reductions March 4-7. Because we have to do lane striping for a work zone and then re-stripe the roadway back to its normal configuration by the Monday morning commute, we need dry weather. It's impossible to paint lane stripes with standing water on the roadway so we need dry conditions Friday and Sunday and that is not in the cards. We're now hoping to begin work on replacing the expansion joints on the I-5 Steamboat Slough Bridge March 11-14. After the first week of the #SnoCoSqueeze was rescheduled (thank you Pacific Northwest rain), we are ready to get up and going this weekend (March 4-7) replacing aging expansion joints on I-5 between Marysville and Everett.

Again, we need a stretch of dry weather to be able to properly re-stripe lanes and ensure that the concrete cures correctly, so we're keeping an eye on the forecast and our fingers crossed that we don't have to postpone again. We need to restripe the highway to create a large enough work zone and then restripe it back to normal in time for the Monday morning commute. If rain is forecast for either Friday night, Sunday night or both, we can't work because we can't paint on wet pavement regardless of how good the weather is on Saturday or Sunday. We recognize that this is still the rainy season but we're trying to get this work done now ahead of the busy summer travel season.

If you haven't heard yet about the #SnoCoSqueeze, we have aging expansion joints all over our highways, especially on I-5, and as funding becomes available, we're working on getting them replaced. That time is now for Snohomish County.

We are replacing 41 expansion joints on I-5 between Everett and Marysville. To do so, there will be eight weekends of reduced lanes starting the night of March 4. In most cases that means from 9:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday for eight weekends, drivers will need to plan their trips around some potentially heavy traffic.

The joints range in length from 48 to 71 feet and getting old ones removed and new ones installed is no easy task. Even after the old joint is chipped out and the new one installed, the concrete needs a full 12 hours to cure. There isn't enough time during a weeknight overnight closure to get this done so we need full weekends.

For drivers, that means possible weekend backups and delays as the work is completed. Two lanes will remain open during the day but the speed limit will be reduced to 40 mph through the work zones as the lanes will narrow and we want to keep everyone safe.

This is the first major work Snohomish County has had of this kind in a long time. While we're getting this work done, we're asking drivers to, whenever possible, consider alternatives. Carpool or vanpool if you can. Traveling early or later in the day will help avoid weekend congestion that could resemble a weekday commute.

This work is vital for the future health of our highway as well as the safety of those who travel on it. Our crews will work as quickly and safely as they can, and we appreciate your help as we complete this major project.

1 comment:

jshua79 said...

Why in the world is no one working during the week at night? The weather has been perfect. This is getting drawn out far longer than necessary.