Thursday, February 18, 2016

I-5 weekend work between Marysville and Everett likely to cause major delays

UPDATE - February 25, 1:28 p.m.
#SnoCoSqueeze work for this coming weekend has been rescheduled due to the weather forecast. Expect work scheduled for Friday, Feb. 26 to Monday, Feb. 29 to now begin Friday, March 4.

We've all seen what a broken expansion joint can do to a commute: miles of backup, huge delays and plenty of stress and frustration.

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. Snohomish County, your time has come.

We are in the process of replacing 41 expansion joints on I-5 between Everett and Marysville, and that work really picks up steam this month. There will be eight weekends of reduced lanes starting the night of Feb. 26. That means that in most cases, 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.

Replacing 41 expansion joints is no small feat. The joints range in length from 48 to 71 feet.

Even after the old joint is chipped out and the new one placed, the concrete needs a full 12 hours to cure after it's laid out.

Getting a time frame adequate enough during the work week to get all that work done is not possible for the largest joints. We need full weekends to get this done. For drivers, that means facing 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.

Anytime you do major work like this that involves lane reductions, it's going to create traffic issues and we thank you ahead of time for your understanding. 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.