Wednesday, September 25, 2019

One last weekend of expansion joint repair work on northbound I-5 in Tukwila, Sept. 28-29

By Tom Pearce

Work to replace the left half of an expansion joint on northbound I-5 at the Duwamish River Bridge in Tukwila went so well last weekend that the contractor crews were able to reopen all lanes before 10 a.m. on Sunday – 14 hours earlier than scheduled.
Crews pour concrete to form the expansion
joint on I-5 in Tukwila

Sometimes on work like this there are issues with how something fits, requiring adjustments. That's why we schedule longer work periods, but this time everyone worked smoothly.

Which brings me to this coming weekend. Contractor crews will return to repair the right half of the expansion joint beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27. They will chip out the old concrete, replace the steel, then pour the new concrete, which requires 24 hours to cure before traffic can drive on it.

This weekend, however, the lanes most likely won't reopen early. Crews have additional work to complete before they can finish the project. The work requires moving traffic from the left two lanes of the interstate to the right two lanes late Sunday night.

As always, weather could be a factor. In this case, the concrete work can tolerate a little rain, but a steady, heavy rain could force them to postpone.

What's open, what's closed
This work will close the three right lanes of northbound I-5. The lane closures will start just south of the I-405/SR 518 interchange. While the SR 518 on-ramp will remain open, several other northbound I-5 on-ramps will close:
  • Southbound I-405 HOV only ramp
  • Southcenter Boulevard ramp
  • Interurban Avenue South ramp
Only one lane of the northbound I-5 off-ramp to northbound SR 599 will remain open. The HOV bypass ramp will close near the Klickitat Drive overpass, and will reopen to all drivers approaching the Duwamish River Bridge.

Be like a Scout
As always, people who travel through this part of Tukwila will need to be prepared. You'll still be able to get to your destination; it just takes some planning. Fortunately, there are several alternatives:
  • Sound Transit's Link light rail
  • King County Metro or Sound Transit bus service
  • Carpool or vanpool
  • Travel early or late in the day, before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
This is the last major lane reduction we have planned for 2019, although emergency closures are always possible. For now, thanks for your patience and assistance as we finish this important preservation work.