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Thursday, November 03, 2011
Colin Newell, WSDOT project engineer, 866-713-2412 (Chehalis)
Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-690-5367 (Vancouver)
Lisa Copeland, WSDOT communications, 360-357-2789 (Tumwater)
CENTRALIA – A wider, faster Interstate 5 near Centralia gets rolling just in time for the morning commute on Friday, Nov. 4 when crews open a brand-new third lane of I-5 in both directions and the speed limit increases to 70 mph.
The Washington State Department of Transportation and contractor Tri-State Construction, Inc. have been working for the past year and a half to remove a bottleneck and alleviate congestion on I-5 between the Blakeslee railroad junction and Grand Mound interchange.
“Adding a lane in each direction will definitely reduce backups and delays the 58,000 drivers who travel this section of I-5 have experienced during their daily commutes,” said WSDOT project engineer Colin Newell. “Even though the lane is open, we still have some work left to wrap up. Our crews will be out there this winter, and it’s important that drivers stay mindful and continue to ‘give ‘em a brake’ through the work zone.”
I-5 drivers will continue to encounter intermittent single-lane and shoulder closures over the winter while crews complete final construction activities such as landscaping, striping and fence installation.
Just north of the widening project, crews are working to replace the US 12 interchange at Grand Mound. This replacement project is occurring five months after I-5 was widened in Thurston County from two to three lanes in both directions between Grand Mound and Maytown.
“These new lanes near Centralia and Grand Mound are just the latest projects that WSDOT is undertaking to improve travel through Lewis and Thurston counties,” Newell said. “We’ve been working on this section of I-5 since 2006, and will be starting our final project in 2012.”
WSDOT is investing a $390 million from the 2003 and 2005 gas-tax packages in four projects to improve traffic flow and safety along 18 miles of I-5 in Lewis and Thurston counties. The fourth and final project in this series – I-5, Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction – is scheduled to begin construction next summer.
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