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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Mike Murphy, WSDOT Communications, 206- 440-4699 (Seattle)
Aleta Borschowa, Project Engineer, 206-768-5862 (Seattle)
Detours, delays for SR 18 drivers this summer as interchange is rebuilt between three highways
FEDERAL WAY – A summer of significant freeway ramp closures begins in Federal Way the day after the Memorial Day holiday as crews work to improve safety and ease congestion at a key Interstate 5 interchange.
Beginning Tuesday, May 31, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will close the ramp from Weyerhaeuser Way to westbound State Route 18. It will remain closed for approximately three months, requiring an estimated 4,300 drivers a day to follow a detour route while work continues on the $112 million I-5/SR 161/SR 18 Triangle project.
“We’ll be very busy this summer as a new flyover ramp starts to take shape,” said Aleta Borschowa, WSDOT project engineer. “We need drivers to plan ahead so they’re not caught off-guard by these closures.”
The closure will allow crews to rebuild and elevate the ramp 20 feet to make room for a new flyover ramp from westbound SR 18 to southbound I-5. A four-mile detour route will direct drivers onto eastbound SR 18 to the West Valley Highway (SR 181) and back to westbound SR 18.
This is the first of three summer ramp closures on the project. The next two are:
- During most of August, the ramp from westbound SR 18 to northbound I-5 will be closed so crews can connect it to the rebuilt Weyerhaeuser Way ramp. Traffic will be detoured onto northbound Highway 99 and South 320th Street. Drivers coming from Auburn can use northbound SR 167 and westbound SR 516 to connect with northbound I-5.
- The weekend of July 15-18, the ramp from eastbound SR 18 to southbound I-5 will also be closed as crews connect portions of the new flyover ramp to SR 18 and I-5. During that closure traffic will be detoured on northbound I-5 to South 320th Street and back to southbound I-5.
This fall crews will start to install large steel bridge girders over I-5 and SR 18, which will require total nighttime closures.
WSDOT and Mowat Construction are working to improve safety and ease congestion at the busy I-5/SR 18 cloverleaf interchange. Two new flyover ramps – one from westbound SR 18 to southbound I-5 and one from eastbound SR 18 to northbound I-5 – will eliminate lane weaving that can lead to backups and collisions. The project is expected to be complete in late 2012.
Drivers can stay updated on the roadwork by visiting the project website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/sr18sr161ic, signing up for the South King County email update or calling the project hotline at 206-440-4900.
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