Thursday, July 8, 2021

Much-needed southbound I-5 work resumes weekend of July 17-18

By Tom Pearce

As we move into the peak of summer, you're going to see more weekend work that affects I-5 and highways around the Puget Sound area. We need good weather for a lot of the work we do and as the old saying goes, you've gotta make hay while the sun shines.

One of the biggest projects we have is on southbound I-5 between I-90 and Spokane Street, part of our Revive I-5 effort. The weekend of July 17-18, we'll reduce southbound I-5 to two lanes on Saturday and only one lane on Sunday. In addition, we'll close the collector-distributor ramp to southbound I-5. You'll still be able to get into the collector-distributor, but you'll have to exit to Dearborn, I-90, Fourth Avenue South or Airport Way.

Finally, the mainline I-5 off-ramps to Forest Street/Sixth Avenue and Spokane Street/Columbian Way will also be closed.
The off-ramps from the I-5 collector-distributor to SODO will be open during the weekend work, but the I-90 and collector-distributor ramps to southbound I-5 will be closed.

We try to schedule these weekends to avoid events that will draw huge crowds, but we can't avoid everything. For example, Seattle is marking the end of COVID restrictions with a "Welcome Back" celebration in the Chinatown International District July 17-18. We may be working on I-5, but you'll still be able to get to this event and others in the city.

There are all kinds of public transportation options in Seattle. Cycling is very popular and the city has many miles of bike lanes. If you feel the need to drive, consider carpooling and allow extra time.

Why so many closures?
This Revive I-5 project will require at least 16 weekend-long lane reductions between now and fall 2022 to finish the needed work. On July 17-18 our contractor, CA Carey, will finish the major paving work on a 1¼-mile section of I-5 between I-90 and Spokane Street.

During the rest of the closures, we'll replace 40 expansion joints on the freeway as well as 16 others on the ramps that serve I-5 in this area.
In the past few months our crews have had to make several emergency expansion
joint repairs in the middle of the day on I-5.

If you drive this area frequently, you've probably seen our maintenance crews out doing emergency repairs on broken expansion joints. We've had to repair about seven of these since the start of spring. And they seem to break at the most inconvenient times – the middle of the day, or in the case of the most recent one, during peak afternoon traffic.

Repairing these joints during scheduled closures can be tough on people who need to travel, but scheduling them allows many people to adjust their travel plans and reduces the number of vehicles on that section of highway.

Thanks for your patience. We have a lot of work to do on I-5. With good planning, we'll finish it and you'll get to your destination.