Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Revive I-5 finishes first weekend of paving southbound in Seattle

By Tom Pearce

We were able to make a lot of progress on our southbound Revive I-5 project this weekend despite the record-breaking heatwave. Our contractor crews from CA Carey paved almost 10,000 linear feet of new polyester concrete on parts of three lanes between I-90 and Spokane Street in Seattle.

The heat did limit how much they could do. While the polyester concrete is more durable, it’s also a little more sensitive to heat. If the road surface temperatures are 90 degrees or above, we can’t apply it. That means we couldn’t pave until after 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday nights when it dropped below 90 degrees.

Camera screenshot of crews paving on southbound I5

Crews were paving on southbound I-5 until about 8 a.m. Sunday before the worst of the heat started.

Crews were able to finish paving all lanes of the three-lane section near I-90 and where the collector distributor rejoins southbound I-5. Farther south near Forest Street, though, only the left lane is paved. That means we’ll need to close more lanes down there to finish paving.

Thanks for your concern

We heard from many people during the weekend concerned about the crews working out in the extreme heat. It’s nice to know there are so many good-hearted people out there.

The contractor did a good job of taking care of their workers all weekend. They briefed them on the signs of heat-related illness, provided plenty of fluids, allowed frequent breaks as needed and opportunities to get out of the heat. Some of the work was also shifted to evening and overnight. If conditions had become too severe, they were ready to pull crews off the road.

The record heat did mean adjusting when some work like paving could be done, so crews did other tasks like saw cutting pavement during the day.
We want to thank all the workers who braved the heat to help us Revive I-5 this weekend. We still have a long way to go, but their efforts will complete major vital work on I-5 for the first time since it was built in the 1960s.

More to come

We still have another weekend of paving coming up July 17-18. For that we’re going to need to close the collector/distributor ramp to southbound I-5. People will still be able to use the collector-distributor to get to the SODO area but they won’t be able to get on southbound I-5. From the collector-distributor drivers will need to exit to:

  • I-90
  • Dearborn Street
  • 4th Avenue
  • Airport Way

It also means the eastbound and westbound I-90 ramps to southbound I-5 will again be closed for the weekend.

Once the paving is complete, we’ll launch into expansion joint replacement. That’s going to require about 14 summer weekends between now and fall 2022. We have 40 joints to replace on southbound I-5, plus about 16 more on ramps in the area.

This is a massive undertaking, but it’s just part of the work we’ll be doing on I-5 in the Seattle/King County area. We have more than two dozen projects in the queue, including several through downtown Seattle and on the Ship Canal Bridge. It will require a lot of planning to finish them all and we’re going to need a lot of help from you, but together we can Revive I-5 for another generation.