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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Meagan McFadden, WSDOT Communications, 509-577-1618
Will Smith, WSDOT Project Engineer, 509-577-1840
HYAK – Crews will get the green light to resume rock blasting operations this week after a snowy spring on Interstate 90.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and contractor Max J. Kuney are scheduled to start the first of a series of controlled rock blasts on I-90 near the east snowshed on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12. For the safety of the traveling public, crews will temporarily close I-90 in both directions from Hyak (milepost 54) to the Price Creek Sno-Park (milepost 61) at approximately 7 p.m. The closure will last up to an hour. After crews blast, they will remove debris from the roadway and shoulders, inspect the slopes for stability and safety, and reopen all lanes of I-90.
Rock blasting is part of the $551 million I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam project to widen a five-mile stretch of the highway from four to six lanes and improve reliability and safety. This multi-year project is funded by the 2005 gas tax and is scheduled to be complete in 2016.
“Our crews are going to be busy until fall removing about 500,000 tons of rock from the slopes along I-90,” said Will Smith, WSDOT project engineer. “We understand that drivers don’t want to be delayed, and that’s why we’re waiting until the last moments of daylight to blast - when there aren’t very many people driving over the pass.”
Freight trucks and passenger vehicles will notice the affects of the rock blasting and temporary highway closures on I-90. Since construction schedules and activities can change from day to day, WSDOT asks motorists to plan for an extra hour of travel time from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Drivers can use the following tools to better plan trips across the pass:
• Visit the What’s Happening on I-90 Web page for up-to-date information on construction projects, traffic impacts, travel graphs and to sign up for e-mail updates
• Visit the Snoqualmie Mountain Pass Web page for real-time travel information and to view traffic cameras.
• Check the weekly Construction Updates Web page and Traffic Web page for region-wide updates
• Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM
• Follow WSDOT on Twitter
• Call the I-90 construction hotline at 888-535-0738 or 5-1-1
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