Thursday, January 19, 2023

Why we're closing I-5 lanes in Everett again

By Kurt Batdorf

No one who drives Interstate 5 through Everett wants to repeat Jan. 12, when we had to reduce the northbound freeway to one lane to make a weekday emergency pavement repair near Marine View Drive.

When a concrete panel pops up and creates a 3-inch-high ledge that suddenly covers half of the center lane, as was the case that day, we can’t wait. We had to fix it immediately.

There’s never a good time to close lanes on the state’s busiest freeway, but we need to do more work to be sure this doesn’t happen again. So our contractor, Acme Concrete Paving, is returning this weekend to finish pavement repairs on I-5 near Marine View Drive. Northbound I-5 will be reduced to one lane from 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, through 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23.

So, here we are again. Kind of.

We know that a weekend-long reduction to a single lane will be challenging and is likely to create long backups on I-5, westbound US 2 and Everett city streets, so we’re asking drivers to plan ahead. Use our real-time traffic app before you hit the road. If you can use an alternate route like State Route 9 to bypass Everett, please do so. If you can’t, you’ll have to allow more time to get through Everett.

When this section of concrete on northbound I-5 near Marine View Drive popped loose earlier this month, an emergency repair required two lanes of the highway to be closed. Crews will return this weekend to continue work in this area.

What happened?

In 2022, Acme Concrete Paving crews replaced about 160 of 200 concrete panels on this stretch of I-5. The panel that popped up Jan. 12 is one of about 40 that Acme crews cut in December in anticipation of replacement. But they couldn’t finish replacing all the panels before the weather got too cold and wet to pour concrete.

As things unfolded Jan. 12, our engineers and Acme discussed options. No one could say if the other panels cut in advance of replacement would remain stable until spring when Acme was scheduled to return. The weather forecast for Jan. 20-23 looks good enough to pour concrete and we all want to get this job done before any more panels pop up. But it will take a full weekend with multiple lane closures to safely replace the 40 remaining panels.

The area of I-5 that was repaired earlier this month in Everett after an emergency closure. Contractors will be out this weekend to finish pavement work in this area.

We didn’t make this decision lightly. The emergency work created a backup on I-5 that stretched south of the I-405 interchange and clogged countless surrounding surface streets. We’re doing this work now to try to avoid further emergencies that snarl traffic with no advanced warning. None of us like how that turned out. We heard the traveling public loud and clear.

After this weekend, Acme will return to this stretch of I-5 this spring to replace expansion joints on four bridges that date to the construction of the freeway in the mid-1960s. We’ll provide more details about that schedule as soon as we have it. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience.

Oh yeah, about the lane striping

We’ve heard lots of grumbling about the temporary lane markers on this project. Good news! We’ve Asked Acme to fix the striping issues while the lanes are closed. Look for more coats of paint separating lanes (if it’s dry enough to paint) or reflective raised pavement markers (if it’s too wet to paint) come Monday morning.


DouglasT said...

How about a map so we can see where it is closed?

Elizabeth I said...

Thank you for fixing the lane striping!

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