Wednesday, April 18, 2018

US 12 gears up for paving, culvert work

By Tina Werner

As DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince told us way back in 1991, summertime is a great time to sit back and unwind (did I just date myself?). Unless, of course, you are one of our construction crews.

When the hot and dry weather gets here and most of us are enjoying evening fireworks and disappearing plates of watermelon, crews will be gearing up for a busy season. While sparklers and bonfires won't be allowed at these events, warmer weather is required as contractor crews begin two construction projects between Aberdeen and Montesano, including a seven-mile overnight paving job on US 12 from Sargent Boulevard to the Wynoochee River Bridge in Aberdeen followed by a fish barrier correction project west of Montesano.

Work could begin in May
As early as May, crews will begin an asphalt paving project to renew a portion of US 12 from Aberdeen through Central Park, with most of the work taking place overnight to reduce traffic impacts. They will also make repairs to the driving surface of the Wynochee River Bridge. Work on the bridge will require nighttime, one-way alternating traffic.
The Wynoochee River Bridge just west of N. Montesano Rd

Meanwhile, after the Fourth
Shortly after the Fourth of July holiday, we will begin removing and replacing a small culvert that runs under US 12 just west of Montesano. This project will reduce US 12 to one lane in each direction around-the-clock through early fall. Drivers can expect reduced speeds of 25 mph through the work zone.
The existing culvert under US 12. This culvert is a barrier to fish passage

We are required to improve creeks and streams in the region by rebuilding fish barriers in addition to restoring and relocating the creeks and streams so the fish in those waterways can swim more freely.

No good time for this work
US 12 is the major east-west highway in Grays Harbor County. This section serves about 20,000 vehicles per day. In addition to local commuters, freight and transit, tourists visiting our beaches during the summer cause traffic volumes to soar.
Unfortunately, summer is also the primary time we can get most of our paving work done. Much of this work needs dry, warmer weather for asphalt to set and harden and lane striping to adhere to the pavement.

There really is no "good" time to close lanes and do this kind of work. State highways are an important link for our economy and our crews will work to keep traffic moving as well as possible through the back-to-back construction projects by doing a majority of the paving work at night.

Advanced notification of construction-related closures is posted on the Olympic Region Weekly Construction and Traffic Updates web page. Travelers are encouraged to sign up for Grays Harbor County community alerts.

We know this is going to be a challenge for travelers in the area and we appreciate your patience as we get this important work done.