Significant delays are likely as crews begin closing lanes for construction. Data collected in 2006 show that:
- An average of 76,000 cars per day use the section of I-5 between Lakeway Drive and Iowa Street.
- Approximately 51 percent of cars travel northbound. Approximately 49 percent travel southbound.
- Friday has the highest traffic volume of any day of the week. Saturday and Sunday have the lowest volume of any day of the week.
- Traffic volumes drop off significantly about 7 p.m. and do not increase greatly until 6 a.m.
Saturday traffic volumes
Sunday traffic volumes
Crews are allowed to close lanes at night and on weekends as follows:
- 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday
- 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday night through Friday morning
- Up to one lane in each direction from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday
- Weekend work will take up to four weekends to complete and is weather dependent.
- Crews will close one lane in each direction all weekend through Bellingham (252 to 255) to remove and replace broken panels and fix bridge transitions.
There are several bridges along I-5 that have bumps on either end of them, because the highway is lower than the bridge. To fix this problem, we have to completely remove the existing concrete that butts up against the bridges, build a web of supporting steel, pour the new concrete, let it cure, and then reopen the road to drivers. The 56-hour closures on weekends will provide the best opportunity to avoid the heaviest traffic times and provide enough time to pour concrete and let it cure.
In order to repair the bridge transitions, we need longer periods of time to close lanes, and weekends work well for this. Closing lanes for a few hours at night isn't enough time, and around-the-clock weekday closures will cause worse backups than the weekend closures. There are more drivers on I-5 during the week than on weekends.
We placed financial incentives in the contract to encourage the contractor to do the weekend work in less than four weekends. The contractor will be rewarded for each weekend-long closure not used.