Thursday, September 27, 2018

Unlucky US 2 paving project shelved until next spring

The final closure of westbound US 2, postponed due to colder weather in September 2018, is now scheduled for:
  • 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 to 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5
In the event weather postpones the work, we have identified the following potential backup closure weekends.
  • 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 to 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19
  • 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 to 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Get more details on why we must complete this project, and what we need from travelers.

By Ally Barrera

It's not the outcome anyone wanted.

This week, contractor crews working on our US 2 paving project in Snohomish County decided to postpone the two remaining weekend closures until next spring.

The reason behind this decision? Weather.

The bummer of it all is crews only had a relatively small portion of the westbound Hewitt Avenue Trestle left to repave - a half-mile stretch from the Snohomish River to I-5. The one consolation is this remaining section of the trestle has the smoothest portion of the old asphalt.

But for now, trestle travelers will need to wait until next year before they can enjoy a continuous smooth ride from Lake Stevens to Everett.

But why postpone?
Here's a breakdown of why the contractors chose to postpone:
  • Colder temperatures - Just like a sticky price tag is easier to remove when it's warm, the same goes for old asphalt. But when the mercury goes down, it takes longer for crews to scrape off the existing asphalt and still leave themselves enough time to complete the rest of their work.
  • Reduced daylight hours - This goes hand in hand with the temperatures. Less daylight = more time in the cold = the longer it takes to remove the old asphalt.
  • Fog/dew - Fog is defined as a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended near the earth's surface. It looks cool in a picture, but it's detrimental to this paving project. Like we've explained in blogs past, moisture wreaks havoc on the installation of the waterproof matting that keeps rain from seeping into the trestle's structure.

The colder temperatures make it more difficult for crews to remove the existing asphalt from the trestle.

Because of these factors, the contractors want to wait for more favorable weather conditions to complete the remaining paving work.

Project accomplishments
Despite the fact rain delayed eight - yeah, eight - weekends of scheduled work, crews still accomplished quite a lot during the four weekends they did work, like:
  • Repaving 2.5 miles of westbound US 2 from Bickford Avenue to I-5.
  • Repaving one mile of eastbound US 2 from State Route 204 to Bickford Avenue.
  • Installed enough waterproof matting to cover nearly seven football fields.
  • Made repairs to the trestle structure to cut down the need for future emergency repairs.
All these things help give travelers a more reliable commute and keep the trestle in a state of good repair for years to come.
This video provides an up-close look of what our crews accomplished during each weekend closure.
Still work to be done
In the coming weeks, crews will perform overnight lane reductions on westbound US 2 to finish smoothing out the expansion joints and place permanent striping on the newly paved portions of the highway. Travelers can check the Snohomish County Construction page or sign up for email updates to find out when those lane reductions are scheduled.

Thank you
This project was originally slated to last two years, but our contractor crews worked really hard to finish everything this summer and keep the disruptions to the public to a minimum. We even optimistically scheduled closures to take place in May and June so we could wrap up before the bulk of the summer traveling season.

But the weather had other ideas.

I've been told that the only predictable thing about construction in the Pacific Northwest is its unpredictability. Through the ups and down, those affected by the roadwork rolled with the punches and we are grateful for that. Now we need you to roll that patience into next spring.