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Friday, May 06, 2011
Dave Chesson, WSDOT Communications, 360-757-5970 (Burlington)
Jay Drye, WSDOT Engineering Manager, 360-757-5993 (Burlington)
Construction will stretch between Burlington and Bellingham
BURLINGTON – Maintenance crews have been sealing cracks on northbound I-5 for so long that they’re ready to give the old concrete panels the ax. Instead, engineers have decided a truck-mounted concrete breaker, similar looking to a guillotine, is a better solution.
Cracking dilapidated road panels is just one phase of a season-long project that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will begin in mid-May to smooth the roadway and reduce maintenance headaches.
Crews will repair and pave 12 miles of northbound I-5 from north of the SR 11 Chuckanut Drive interchange in Burlington to south of Lake Samish near Bellingham.
One lane of northbound I-5 will close from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. on week nights. Work is expected to start May 16, but inclement weather could change the schedule. At times, the roadway will be rough, on- and off-ramps will be closed for paving, and two around-the-clock lane closures will keep I-5 reduced to one lane for a total of three days or more. The work is expected to be finished this fall.
Drivers should expect delays and plan to alter their schedules and routes when and if possible to avoid lengthy delays. Approximately 40,000 commuters, visitors and freight haulers use this stretch of I-5 daily.
To crack the concrete panels, crews will use a machine mounted to the back of a truck that has a large blade that moves like a guillotine. The process, called “crack and seat”, cracks the panels and then they are run over with a heavy roller to “seat” them in the ground before paving over the roadway with asphalt.
WSDOT will communicate construction activities to drivers in numerous ways, including electronic reader boards, a highway radio, website and email updates, and a 24-hour hotline (360-757-5970).
The $20 million project is funded with federal preservation dollars that were saved from other Washington highway preservation projects in 2010, when WSDOT saw substantially lower bids on several projects.
For more information about the project, visit the project page. Pictures are available on Flickr.
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