Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Aging I-5 in Seattle to receive a historic facelift during spring and summer of 2018

By Frances Fedoriska

Decades of patchwork fixes, Band-Aid repairs and emergency maintenance can't be ignored any longer.

Interstate 5 through the heart of Seattle needs major work done. Badly.

Much has changed since the roadway opened in the 1960's. Back then, the new surface was smooth as butter. If you drive the interstate today, you know that is no longer the case. Yes, we do regular inspections and preventative maintenance all along I-5, but a full-blown rehabilitation has never happened… until now.
While we've done what we can to preserve the pavement on northbound I-5 through Seattle,
it hasn't had a major facelift since it was built in the 1960s.
This spring and summer, northbound I-5 from MLK Way (State Route 900) to Northeast Ravenna is getting 13 miles of new concrete and asphalt and 37 new expansion joints as part of a $51.2 million facelift.

It's a tremendous undertaking that will require at least six weekends of lane reductions on northbound I-5 near Spokane Street. Two of the six weekends will require full closures of northbound I-5.

What to expect and when
With so many events in Seattle over the spring and summer months, there is never a good time to close lanes on I-5. We've been working closely with the SoDo stadiums, event managers and downtown associations to pinpoint the weekends with the fewest conflicts in an incredibly vibrant city. Over the six weekends of work, crews will start the closures late Friday night and wrap up by the Monday morning commute.
As part of our #ReviveI5 work in Seattle, we'll be replacing 37 expansion joints.
  • April 20-23: Weekend lane reductions - Completed
  • April 27-30: Weekend lane reductions - Postponed
  • May 11-14: Weekend lane reductions
  • May 18-21: Weekend lane reductions
  • June 1-4: Full northbound closure
  • July 13-16: Full northbound closure
  • To be scheduled: Weekend lane reductions
Much of this work can only be done during dry weather so the schedule can change. If that happens, we will send out email alerts regarding changes to the above itinerary. You can also bookmark the King County Construction page to easily reference all closures.

What drivers can do
To avoid miles of backups and hours-long delays during the work, especially the two full weekend closures, we need every driver to adjust their plans or try something different when possible:
  • Use public transportation
  • Use light rail
  • Use Amtrak Cascades
  • Carpool or vanpool
  • Bike
  • Walk
  • Use state routes 99, 509, 518 and I-405 instead.
  • Travel before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
  • Move any discretionary travel to another weekend.
  • Plan on spending the night in Seattle to avoid traveling during the closure.
Major work to rehab I-5 began last year on the southbound highway between Tukwila and Kent.
Every year, we get money from the legislature to do preservation work on the worst sections of I-5. It is more cost effective for taxpayers to protect the roads we already have versus building new ones. Last year we started a $27 million rehabilitation of roughly 13 miles of southbound I-5 between the Duwamish River Bridge in Tukwila and South 320th Street in Federal Way. That project, and this year's work on northbound I-5, is all part of the years-long #ReviveI5 preservation project ensuring safe and reliable trips along 38-miles of Washington's busiest highway for decades to come.

Thank you!
We know this construction will create a rough commute through downtown, but this historic preservation project will reduce the need for future emergency repairs that add time to already long commutes. We thank you in advance for the adjustments you'll make to your plans during this project as we work to restore a smoother, safer ride on I-5 for generations to come.


wsdot hater said...

If the state would outlaw studded tires our roadways would not take such a beating. Chains during the occasional bad weather days and for mountain driving would be much better.

Brian Webber said...

Are the closures going all the way to exit 171? Could you post a map of the project and the closures? Thanks!

WSDOT said...

Brian, the link below includes a color-coded map of the closures planned for the weekend of April 20th.


Be sure to bookmark this link, as we will post updates here on ramp and lane closure details, each week of the closures. We will also update any weather-related cancellations for this project.

eric1972sea said...

Does this work include any seismic retrofitting?

WSDOT said...

eric1972sea, this particular project does not include any seismic retrofitting at this time. This project is specifically focused on pavement and expansion joint repair to preserve the roadway.

Unknown said...

I can't wait! I hope this will extend to the Shoreline area... I always avoid using i-5 specifically because of all of the potholes. I actually exit in Seattle when coming from i-90 so that I can get on the express lanes and avoid all of the damage i5 does to my car.

BetsyE said...

I know there is no great weekend to shut down I-5, but Mother's Day? Mothers need their kids to go see them, and this will certainly give them an excuse not to. Any chance you could pick a different weekend? Also, any chance you can add a lane thru downtown while you're at it? :-)

WSDOT said...

The critical preservation work we are doing right now on I-5 is the first massive rehabilitation effort through Seattle since the interstate was built more than 50 years ago. We need to do this work now to make sure I-5 remains in good repair and can continue to haul Seattle’s growing number of commuters and commerce.

We spent months analyzing which weekends were available for #ReviveI5 closures. WSDOT carefully coordinated with our partners at the stadiums to make sure we aren’t conflicting with any large special events such as games and concerts. We also worked with the city and county to coordinate with their construction projects as well. This left us with a limited number of weekends with few conflicts. On top of that, this work on I-5 is weather-dependent. We need warm, dry conditions to do a majority of this preservation work, and we've already had a few of our pre-selected weekends rained out.

This $50.6 million investment in our infrastructure is critical because the cost to replace these facilities is tremendously high and growing higher all the time.

We understand these closures will require adjustments from travelers, and appreciate any changes they can make to their plans to help us perform this necessary preservation work and upgrades.

Zebrahead said...

Never ever use hex head or any large head on your bolts that attach in the expansion joint areas.

Always use a flush-head type of bolt. Maybe slightly, very slightly rounded type head.

I drive German cars, with tight suspensions, and enjoy my drive usually. These hard nosed abutments in the road surface are tough on a gentle smooth ride.

Thank you for your careful procurement of the proper bolts, that we meet daily on our commutes, at 60 mph.

LoveSeattle said...

Why isn’t WASHDOT adding a lane thru downtown while you're at it? I would think that with the years of planning this took that would have been considered. Was it?

LoveSeattle said...

Did WASHDOT consider adding another lane as part of this project? If not, why not? I would have thought that with the years of planning that went into this that this would have been a “given.”

BluKatKraft said...

A giant pot hole almost sucked up my MINI near downtown, the chunks of concrete all over are dangerous too! Why is nothing done????

Unknown said...

Any info on the new business loop going up? Saw some signs but no info available yet

WSDOT said...

Those signs are related to our Revive I-5 project and weekend lane reductions. The signs are there to remind drivers that on weekends when we are working on northbound I-5, we may send one lane of traffic to the collector/distributor and one lane to the express lanes. Drivers who stay to the right can use the collector/distributor to get into downtown Seattle. Drivers in the left lane are taken to the express lanes, where there are no exits to downtown. The first express lane exit is in the University District, north of Lake Union.

Unknown said...

Ahh, so those loop signs will be coming down after the project? It might be wise to sign a posted loop for i-5 on a permanent basis.

Shouldn't a green shield temp 5 have been used instead? The green business loop implies direct business access, such as business 5 in castle rock, or business 90 in moses lake, not thru on the collector lanes, as currently posted...

WSDOT comment policy

Post a Comment