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Monday, August 15, 2011
Seema Javeri, WSDOT Project Engineer, 425-889-0244
Steve Peer, WSDOT Communications, 425-301-2023
BELLEVUE – On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will re-open the new NE 12th Street Bridge to two-way traffic.
Repair work restricted the bridge to one lane and one-way traffic, beginning in April when contractor crews demolished the old NE 12th Street Bridge just a few feet away from its newly built successor. During demolition, a large piece of debris hit the new bridge, damaging a section of girder that helps support it. After examining the damage, structural engineers reduced traffic on the bridge from two-way to one westbound lane as a precautionary measure.
After consulting with numerous structural engineers and considering several repair methods and approaches, WSDOT determined the best approach to repairing the new bridge. “Bridge repair is a complicated process, especially when the damage is to a structural component,” said Seema Javeri, project engineer for WSDOT’s Bellevue Braids project.
Using a phased approach, crews repaired portions of the girder and then tested it for strength. At one point, crews trucked in large weights to measure the girder deflections to assess the effectiveness of the repair. Tests were successful, and now crews are ready to open the bridge to traffic.
The state is not financially responsible for the repair; Atkinson Construction accepts full responsibility for the damage and will foot the bill. “Atkinson has been great to work with and has bent over backwards to get the girder repaired and two-way traffic back on the bridge,” added Javeri. “We’re putting the finishing touches on it this week and expect it to be open next week. I want to thank Bellevue residents for their patience while crews repaired the bridge.”
At 7 p.m. Friday crews will close the bridge to restripe the bridge pavement and re-program traffic signals. If all goes as expected, crews will open the bridge on Saturday morning, Aug. 27.
Major milestone next month
The bridge repair has caused no delay for the rest of the $107.7 million construction project. Crews are ahead of schedule and expect to reach a major milestone next month, when they open a new set of ramps just north of the NE 12th Street Bridge. The new ramps will untangle a congestion mess by separating vehicles entering and exiting northbound Interstate 405 between NE Eighth Street and State Route 520 in Bellevue.
WSDOT will completely close northbound I-405 for an entire weekend in September to shift traffic to the new ramps. Once the road re-opens, Bellevue drivers will no longer have access to SR 520 from NE Eighth Street. Instead, they’ll use a new ramp originating from NE 10th Street that will take them directly to SR 520 without merging on to I-405. See the new configuration here.
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