Friday, October 26, 2012

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project reaches first major milestone before wrapping for winter

By guest blogger Meagan McFadden

Drivers traveling across Interstate 90 have patiently waited to hear these words: Delays related to work zones on Snoqualmie Pass are almost finished until next year. Rock-blasting closures are done for the season, the new westbound lanes are open to traffic and roadside work zones will be cleared by November.

The new wider lanes opened to traffic on Oct. 19
between Hyak and Rocky Run Creek
Despite very rainy conditions, a stalled semi-truck in the construction zone and a delayed asphalt truck, all lanes of I-90 opened to traffic on Oct. 19. Travelers are now driving on a stretch of new, wider westbound lanes and bridges between Hyak and Rocky Run Creek.

It has taken four years, more than 84,000 dump-truck loads of material, 163 closures for rock blasting and enough concrete to fill over 470,000 wheelbarrows to reach this first major milestone. By next fall the first three miles of the five-mile project will be complete, with the remaining two miles of six-lane roadway and bridges scheduled to be complete in 2017.

This work is part of the $551 million I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam project, which widens a five-mile stretch of the highway from four to six lanes and improves travel reliability and safety.

We still have more dump-trucks to fill, rock blasting to complete and more concrete to pour, but as winter weather closes in, we are taking a break until next spring.


The Geezer said...

So, when ya gonna build the multi-megabucks overpass for Buddy the Squirrel?

And more importantly, howcome BC critters can go through large corrugated metal pipes, and we gotta make them a "natural appearing" hugely costly overpass. Are Washington wildlife that stupid?

Lets kill Buddy and save the money.

The Geezer

WSDOT said...

WSDOT is currently designing Phase 2A, which is the next two miles of improving the I-90 corridor from Hyak to Easton. This phase also includes the first wildlife crossing in the corridor at Price / Nobel Creek.

Just like British Columbia, WSDOT uses culverts and bridges to provide access to wildlife to cross under or over the highway. We also researched the wildlife crossing bridge in the Banff National Park to give our designers insight to design the crossing at Price / Nobel Creek. I've provided a link to their website so you can take a look at their current crossings being used by wildlife and how successful they are

As part of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, WSDOT is able to expand the size of bridges and culverts to accommodate fish and wildlife. Enhancing ecological connectivity is a fundamental need for the project, which makes design and construction of wildlife crossings inherently apart of the project cost. The benefit of connecting wildlife populations, enhancing passage for fish and increasing the safety for both people and wildlife is the true measure of cost for the project.

Thanks for the feedback Geezer.

Meagan McFadden
WSDOT Communications
I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project

Anonymous said...

Just spent an hour and a half going 8 miles due to all lanes being merged onto the shoulder at Easton. And then a few miles later - the same thing. Why? Absolutely NOTHING going on. No road crew. No construction. Nothing either time! Must be too LAZY to remove the barricades, I guess. Just plain stupid!

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