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700 tons of girders halt traffic on SR 500, St. Johns Boulevard next week

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Date:  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Contact: Leon Winger, WSDOT project engineer, 360-905-1500 (Vancouver)
Heidi Sause, WSDOT communications, 360-905-2057 (Vancouver)

Nighttime bridge construction closes intersection March 5-6

VANCOUVER – Drivers on State Route 500 and St. Johns Boulevard will see closures next week as crews burn the midnight oil placing bridge girders that will help open the heavily traveled highway corridor to free-flowing traffic in 2013.

Crews working with the Washington State Department of Transportation will close SR 500 and St. Johns Boulevard at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, and Tuesday, March 6, while they lift 14 concrete girders into place above SR 500. Both directions of St. Johns Boulevard and the westbound lanes of SR 500 will reopen by 5:30 a.m. The eastbound lanes of SR 500 will reopen by 7 a.m.

The installation work itself is significant – each girder measures 120 feet long and weighs more than 50 tons – but the end result is a keystone piece of a $48 million project that builds a new interchange at SR 500 and St. Johns Boulevard.

“Drivers will be able to see the new bridge taking shape,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Leon Winger. “These two nights of closures set the stage for a future with free-flowing traffic on SR 500.”

Girder installation will close SR 500 between Interstate 5 and Falk Road, and St. Johns Boulevard between East 33rd Street and Northeast Petticoat Lane. Drivers can follow signed detour routes to navigate around the closures, and crews will maintain local access to residences and businesses throughout the work.

“Drivers won’t be on their own,” Winger said. “We will have flaggers out on the roads, and detour signs marking every turn along the different routes.”

The SR 500, St. Johns Blvd Interchange project replaces the current traffic signal with freeway ramps and a new bridge to carry St. Johns Boulevard traffic up and over the highway. The girder setting marks one of the major construction milestones for this project, which started in May 2011 and is on schedule for completion in 2013.When complete, the new interchange will reduce the number of rear-end collisions and improve traffic flow for 60,000 daily drivers.

Drivers can follow the project’s progress by signing up online to receive email updates, or viewing project photos on Flickr.

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