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Monday, April 18, 2011
Colin Newell, WSDOT project engineer, 360-740-8600 (Chehalis)
Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-905-2058 (Vancouver)
CENTRALIA – New lanes and a wider Interstate 5 are just ahead for people traveling or commuting between Centralia and Grand Mound.
As construction crews prepare to add a third lane in both directions of this 4.5-mile stretch of I-5, motorists will encounter a summer-long traffic shift starting tonight, if dry weather holds.
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) contractor for the I-5, Blakeslee Junction to Grand Mound widening project needs two consecutive days of dry weather to paint new lane stripes before redirecting traffic onto the freeway’s new 11-foot-wide outer shoulders.
Tonight (April 18) road crews will shift southbound interstate traffic starting at 8 p.m. Northbound traffic will shift at 8 p.m. tomorrow (April 19), weather permitting.
“The only difference drivers will notice is that they’ll be traveling on the outside of I-5 rather than the inside,” said project engineer Colin Newell. “But they’ll still be driving through a long, busy work zone, and we need everyone to continue paying attention and taking it slow.”
Shifting traffic allows crews to build new lanes in the median of I-5. Crews also will install concrete barriers and a new, larger culvert under I-5 near the 216th Avenue SW bridge.
WSDOT expects to open the third lanes through this section of I-5 this fall. This is the third in a series of four projects on I-5 in Lewis and Thurston counties.
The work will improve traffic flow and safety along 18 miles of the most significant freight corridor on the West Coast and busiest travel route in Western Washington. WSDOT is investing a $390 million from the 2003 and 2005 gas-tax packages for all four projects.
The fourth and final project in this series – I-5, Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction – is scheduled to begin construction in 2012.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 5-1-1.
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