Friday, June 15, 2018

Long time, no talk: How we’ve been ramping up for back-to-back US 2 Closures

UPDATE
Due to colder temperatures and forecasted rain, all remaining weekend closures of westbound US 2 are postponed until spring 2019.

By Frances Fedoriska

Between rain delays, holiday weekends and big events, it has been a while since we’ve had to prepare for a scheduled closure of westbound US 2 between the Lake Stevens/Snohomish area and Everett. That’s why, with back-to-back weekend closures scheduled from 7 p.m. Friday, June 22 to 4 a.m. Monday, June 25, and 7 p.m. Friday, June 29 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 2, now is as good a time as any to quickly show you what we’ve been up to.

Absolutely no rain allowed
While some of our projects can get work done in the rain, this is not one of them. The two rain delays we’ve had so far are because the waterproof material we are using to protect the trestle from our wet weather has to be applied when there is NO rain or moisture AT ALL. Applying the material when there’s a hint of moisture voids the warranty for the waterproof coating, and nobody wants that. So we will continue to wait for those dry Snohomish County summer weekends.

Working for the weekend
Between the postponed closures, weeknight westbound drivers on US 2 have likely seen the men and women of Lakeside Industries hard at work overnight, preparing the trestle’s dozens of expansion joints for our weekend closures.

Contractor crews make cuts to either side of an expansion joint, then fill it in with grout. This has to be done before we can do any paving work during a weekend closure

Little room for error
The trestle expansion joints are less than 50 yards apart, so we have to be precise in all the repair work. Our margin for error between the top of the road and the top of the expansion joint is just 1/8 inch. The difference between a smoother ride and an uneven, bumpy one is razor thin.

Back-to-back closures
During the June 22-25 and June 29-July 2 closures, no one will be able to use the westbound US 2 Hewitt Avenue trestle between the SR 204 interchange to the on-ramp from Homeacres Road. During both closures, all lanes are scheduled to reopen by 4 a.m. Monday. Since our first two weekends were rained out, here’s a quick recap of what we will do during these closures:
  • Remove old, damaged pavement
  • Inspect the trestle
  • Make any needed repairs
  • Put down a new waterproof coating to protect the trestle from our harsh PNW weather
  • Put down a new layer of asphalt on the far east end of the Hewitt Avenue trestle.
By now you know this, but it bears repeating: This work is weather dependent.

Mark your calendars
We need six weekend closures to rehabilitate the westbound trestle. These closures are tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday on the following weekends:
  • July 13 – July 16 COMPLETED
  • July 20 – July 23 COMPLETED
  • Aug. 3 – Aug. 6 COMPLETED
  • Aug. 10 – Aug. 13 POSTPONED due to weather
  • Aug. 17 – Aug. 20 COMPLETED
  • Sept. 7 – Sept. 10 POSTPONED due to weather
  • Sept. 14 - Sept. 17 POSTPONED due to weather
  • Sept. 21 - Sept. 24 POSTPONED due to weather
  • Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 POSTPONED to spring 2019
  • Oct. 5 - Oct. 8 POSTPONED to spring 2019
The Detour
For the first four weekend closures, we will reverse traffic on 20th Street Southeast.
During the first four weekend closures of westbound US 2, travelers will be detoured westbound on 20th Street SE and returned to the far west end of the US 2 Hewitt Avenue trestle, just before the I-5 interchange.

20th Street Southeast is a single-lane road and doesn’t have the space to efficiently move all the travelers who will be booted off westbound US 2 during these closures.

Help us keep traffic moving:
Travelers who want to go west toward Everett during these closures should consider these options:
  • Brace for congestion. We expect nearby state routes 9, 96 and 528 to get slammed with travelers avoiding the US 2 detour on 20th Street.
  • Carpool
  • Take transit
  • Move discretionary travel to a non-construction weekend travel during non-peak hours. Before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
  • Be a helper. Share this information with friends and family.
  • Be prepared. Check ahead before you get behind the wheel.
    • Our website will have closure and lane reduction updates.
    • Get weekly email updates on King and Snohomish County projects.
    • Our Twitter account will have info about traffic.
    • Download our mobile app for traffic maps and other news and updates.
Thanks in advance
We know there’s no good time to close an entire direction of a busy highway like US 2, and that these closures disrupt weekend travel plans. However, doing this extensive preservation work will reduce the need for future emergency repairs that add time to already long commutes in Snohomish County. We appreciate any adjustments you make to help us complete this important preservation work on US 2.