Friday, August 26, 2016

What we did during the #SouthKingSlowdown, and what’s next

By Tom Pearce

We replaced four large expansion joints at
 the Duwamish River Bridge during our
#SouthKingSlowdown project.
When we wrapped up the last of our #SouthKingSlowdown weekend-long lane reductions Monday morning, Aug. 22, we all let out a collective breath. Over five weekends in the past two months, our contractor crews from MidMountain Contractors Inc. repaved 2.7 miles of southbound I-5 in SeaTac and Des Moines and replaced four expansion joints on the Duwamish River Bridge.

It was hard work, and we also know it was tough maneuvering around the closures. We want to thank drivers for their patience and cooperation, as many chose alternatives, which helped limit backups to 3 or 4 miles at various times. Without that help, backups could have been longer and more cumbersome.

We know that anytime we reduce the number of lanes on a highway, it’s going to be inconvenient. We work with our Construction Traffic Control Office and our contractor to plan around events like Seafair and the Independence Day holiday weekend, but it’s impossible to avoid all events, especially over the summer when a lot of this work has to happen. We bumped up against a couple of concerts, some Sounders and Mariners home games and the Bite of Seattle, but we do the best we can.

The weekend-long lane reductions are finished, but remember, our contractor will still have nighttime lane reductions the rest of this year and into early 2017. We still need to finish grinding ruts, paving and repairing expansion joints, so stay engaged on our website, mobile app and Twitter.

Almost three miles of southbound I-5 has been paved so far in South King County.
This project is rehabilitating about 13 miles of southbound I-5. After serving our region for 50 years, the interstate has earned it. This work will keep our region’s key arterial functioning for decades to come.

Looking ahead
Next year we’ll begin a major road rehab
project on northbound I-5 in South
King County.

While we complete work on southbound I-5, we’re designing a similar project for northbound I-5 between South 260th Street in Kent and the Duwamish River Bridge that will start in spring 2017. While shorter in distance, this work will present more challenges. In addition to replacing broken concrete panels and grinding ruts off of the interstate’s surface, we’ll replace eight expansion joints on a couple of bridges and repave four miles of northbound I-5 using the crack, seat and overlay process.

We’re still developing the northbound project, but we know there will be more weekend-long lane reductions, as well as many overnight lane reductions. We recognize the challenges these pose. For example, the northbound morning commute from south King County is much heavier than the southbound. That means it will be even more important to be sure all lanes are open on time.

When we have weekend-long lane reductions for this project, people will still want to get to Seattle on time for sporting events, concerts and other attractions. Just like we did this summer, we’ll provide information about alternate routes and transportation alternatives so you can plan ahead and be on time for the opening chords, the first pitch or your reservation.

Working together, we’ll rehab I-5 while you enjoy your summer. It just takes some planning, and we’re already working on that. We’ll keep you informed about this and all of our projects.