ROAD CONSTRUCTION: Concrete panels to improve I-5 near Seattle

$12.2M preservation project replaces hundreds of concrete panels and removes cracks and bumps on more than 7 miles of I-5

August 08, 2014

Decades of heavy use have taken a toll on I-5 north of Seattle. The concrete is cracked, chipped and bumpy in many places. Now a new highway preservation project will address some of the worst areas between Northgate and Shoreline.

On Monday, Aug. 11, contractor crews from Granite Construction Co. will begin a $12.2 million project to replace more than 300 concrete panels between Northeast 117th Street and the King-Snohomish County line. In addition to panel replacement, crews will grind more than 4 miles of southbound I-5 and more than 3 miles northbound to remove shallow cracks and bumps and create a smoother drive with better traction.

This section of I-5 sees an average of 182,000 trips each day. The concrete panels were installed between 1962 and 1964, but were only designed to last 20 to 25 years.

“The concrete is falling apart faster than it can be patched,” said Project Engineer John Chi. “Rain, freeze and thaw cycles have also taken a toll on I-5. By replacing the worst panels and grinding other areas, we can continue to keep traffic and freight moving on this vital and aging interstate.”

The contractors will start by saw-cutting the concrete panels. The first of the 300 panels will be lifted out and new panels poured on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Crews will work on the southbound lanes of I-5 first and then replace panels in the northbound lanes. The panel replacement work is currently scheduled to end in late October. Beginning Nov. 1, the crews will start grinding the pavement.

The project also will add a new overhead electronic sign just south of Northeast 155th Street to display travel times and messages. The contractor crews also will pave several ramps. The project is scheduled for completion in late spring 2015 when durable high-visibility striping is added.

Some of this work is unavoidably noisy, particularly the concrete grinding work. It is scheduled to occur during the colder months when people who live near the interstate are more likely to have their windows closed overnight. Nearby residents disturbed by the construction noise can call a 24-hour hotline to request earplugs. The hotline number is 206-440-4DOT (4368)

The project will extend the life of the freeway, reduce the need for costly and inconvenient emergency repairs and create a better driving surface for commuters.

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