HYAK – In 520 days the contractor removed 1 million cubic yards of material, blasted 400,000 pounds of explosives during 177 hours of lane closures and poured 68,000 cubic yards of concrete, all part of finishing a brand new stretch of six lane freeway on Snoqualmie Pass.
The Washington State Department of Transportation, project partners, elected officials and local businesses leaders celebrated a major milestone today. The completion of this 3-mile section of Interstate 90 is part of a $551 million project, funded by the 2005 gas tax, to improve reliability and safety between Hyak and Keechelus Dam.
“The project is an example of how to do it right. Good partnerships build successful projects,” said Cam Gilmour, deputy secretary of transportation. “Many recognized the need to improve I-90, and we collaborated with dozens of agencies during design and construction to make sure everyone’s needs were met.”
The remaining 2 miles of this project from Hyak to Keechelus Dam is scheduled to be complete fall 2018. This portion of the project will reduce road closures caused by avalanches with the construction of two new avalanche bridges, add capacity with a new lane in each direction, improve safety with stabilized rock slopes and improve movement of people, fish and wildlife with new bridges and culverts.
Improvements to the I-90 corridor will continue beyond Keechelus Dam. The Legislature allocated funding in the 2013 Transportation Budget to continue expanding I-90 to the Cabin Creek interchange. This section includes the first wildlife overcrossing to be constructed in the state. Construction of the first 2 miles is scheduled to begin 2015 with completion in 2019.
The ribbon cutting today signifies the end of most construction-related delays and closures on Snoqualmie Pass for the season. Contractor crews are cleaning up the construction site in preparation for winter weather. Closures for rock blasting are scheduled to be complete by mid-October, but drivers may still experience minor delays caused by single-lane closures and rolling slowdowns through November.