Adjust travel plans to avoid weekend gridlock
VANCOUVER – In early June, 1,050 tons of airborne concrete and steel will halt traffic for 88,000 daily drivers on Interstate 5 in Salmon Creek.
I-5 will be closed at the Interstate 205 junction from 11 p.m. Friday, June 7, to 5 a.m. Monday, June 10, while contractor crews on the Salmon Creek Interchange Project place a dozen, 165-foot-long girders over the interstate.
The closure is nearly a month away, but drivers should start planning now to avoid a mess of snarled traffic, miles of backups and long delays.
“It’s not ‘carmageddon,’ but closing I-5 could certainly gridlock most of Clark County if drivers don’t plan ahead,” said WSDOT Area Engineer Leon Winger. “Avoid driving if at all possible, and if you have to drive, plan for extra traveling time.”
During the closure, crane operators will coordinate a complicated installation sequence, using three cranes to lift the 165-foot girders into place above I-5. Each girder weighs nearly 175,000 pounds and will take approximately three hours to install.
“This will be one of the most complicated and difficult girder settings we’ve ever done,” Winger said. “Crews will have to communicate and work seamlessly – the only way to complete an operation of this size is with a full closure.”
The girders form the backbone of the new Northeast 139th Street interchange, which will help alleviate congestion and improve driver safety in the busy Salmon Creek area.
WSDOT has a variety of resources to help drivers plan ahead and stay informed during the closure, including detour maps, email updates, a live project camera and Vancouver-based Twitter account.
“We cannot overemphasize the importance of being prepared,” Winger said. “Drivers need to plan ahead now to avoid traffic headaches in June.”