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I-5 work in Olympia: one weekend down, one to go!

If you happened to check out WSDOT’s Olympia traffic maps and cameras over Sept. 13 and 14, you might have noticed something we hardly ever see – almost no traffic, no backups - just clear sailing. There’s a reason for that.

Interstate 5 at US 101 in Olympia on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.

WSDOT would like to sincerely thank drivers for heeding warnings about potential backups and responding accordingly by staying off of Interstate 5 and US 101 in Olympia while contractor crews knocked out one of two high-impact weekends to replace a 28 year old bridge expansion joint.

Just how light was traffic? On Saturday, Sept. 14 between noon and 6 p.m., traffic on southbound I-5 in Olympia was 50 percent less than it was the previous Saturday. Traffic on northbound I-5 during the same time saw a 30 percent reduction. We asked the public to alter their plans, take the not-so-convenient scenic routes, or try Amtrak Cascades. You responded overwhelmingly, and for that we are full of gratitude.

The fun isn’t quite over yet. We have one more high impact weekend to get through so crews can complete the expansion joint work. Can we have repeat traffic reductions from last weekend? We think so, but it’s entirely up to you. Be sure to check WSDOT’s Olympia Traffic Camera page for potential backups. If you must travel, please go early in the morning or late at night. Our best advice is to stay away. Here’s why:

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 18, northbound I-5 will be reduced to 35 mph in the work zone. Overnight weekend work will bring I-5 down to one lane in both directions. The Deschutes on-ramp to northbound I-5 and the Henderson Blvd/14th Ave. SE on-ramp to southbound I-5 will be closed all weekend. The mega-backups we predicted could still develop if motorists don’t alter their plans.

See the project page for more information: I-5 Vicinity Tumwater Blvd to Gravelly Lake Dr. - Paving