Ready to flip a U-turn: concrete panel replacement project near Seattle heads north

Friday, October 24, 2014

50 year old pavement

A project to preserve Interstate 5 north of Seattle is about to head in a new direction. Since August, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation have replaced hundreds of concrete panels on southbound I-5 between State Route 104 (NE 205th / Ballinger Way) and Northeast 117th Street in Seattle.

Beginning the week of Oct. 27, the contractor crew will turn around and begin replacing or repairing panels in the northbound lanes during overnight lane closures.

While northbound panel replacement is underway, another crew will begin grinding the southbound lanes. Grinding helps remove shallow cracks and bumps to create a smoother drive with improved traction. This work is unavoidably noisy. It is scheduled to begin Nov. 10 when nearby residents are more likely to have their windows closed overnight against colder temperatures.

This section of I-5 between SR 104 and Northeast 117th Street sees an average of 182,000 vehicles each day. The concrete panels were installed between 1962 and 1964, but were only designed to last 20 to 25 years. Now 50 years old, the panels are falling apart faster than they can be patched. They are severely cracked, with bumps and ruts. The panel replacement project will extend the life of the interstate, reduce the need for costly and inconvenient emergency repairs and create a better driving surface for commuters. 

The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2015.

Know before you go
Drivers should know before they go by planning ahead for lane and ramp closures related to this project. WSDOT has many resources and tools for drivers:

Various ramps may be closed each week. Ramp closure detour maps show how drivers will get around the closure. Next scheduled ramp closures:
  • Monday, Oct. 27 to the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 29 - The ramp for NE 130th to southbound I-5 will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (weather-dependent)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29 to the morning of Friday, Oct. 31 - The Metro flyer-stop on Northbound I-5 at NE 145th Street will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (weather-dependent)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29 to the morning of Friday, Oct. 31 and Monday, Nov. 3 to the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 5 - The NE 145th on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (weather-dependent)
  • *Tentative* Wednesday, Nov. 5 to the morning of Friday, Nov. 7: The northbound I-5 on- and off-ramps at NE 175th will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (weather-dependent)


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