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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Meghan Soptich Pembroke, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (Seattle)
Janice Fahning, WSDOT project engineer, 425-225-8725 (Everett)
Crews removing debris near the highway
MONROE – Drivers on State Route 522 near Monroe should plan for full closures of the highway Wednesday and Thursday night. Crews are continuing their preparations for rock-blasting work, now scheduled to begin in late June or early July.
“Before blasting begins, we have to clear out all of the material on top of the rock,” said Janice Fahning, project engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “There are large boulders and trees mixed in with the dirt and plants, so we’re closing the highway to keep drivers safe while we bring down the debris.”
Crews with WSDOT’s contractor, Scarsella Brothers, will close one lane of SR 522 just east of the Snohomish River Bridge at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, June 13 and 14. Both directions of the highway will be completely closed by midnight, and then one lane will reopen at 4 a.m. and the second lane will reopen by 5 a.m. each morning.
During the closures, crews will use excavators to remove material from two rock faces next to the highway. In some areas, the debris is nearly 30 feet deep.
Drivers can choose alternate routes or follow a signed detour using SR 9 and US 2. The detour will add about 10 miles and 20 minutes to trips, depending on destination and traffic.
Rock blasting coming soon
Crews are adding a new lane in each direction to more than four miles of SR 522 near Monroe. To make room to widen the highway, they’ll remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock along the westbound lanes.
Blasting is expected to start as early as the week of June 25. Drivers can expect up to 150 weekday closures of SR 522 through mid-2013.
“Once blasting gets under way, drivers should plan for three to five closures a week,” said Fahning. “Now’s the time to bookmark our online tools and program our hotline in your phone.”
In addition to widening the highway, crews are building four new bridges, including a 1,700-foot-long bridge over the Snohomish River, a roundabout at 164th Street Southeast and a noise wall near 171st Avenue Southeast. They also will install median barrier to reduce the risk of head-on collisions.
The $128.8 million project is one of the final projects in Snohomish County funded by the 2003 gas tax. Crews expect to finish construction in late 2014. For more information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR522/Widen/SnoRiver_US2.
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