Local Information

Safety and congestion-relief work wraps up on I-5 in south Thurston and north Lewis counties

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 15:24

Bart Treece, communications, 360-905-2056
Devin Reck, project engineer, 360-740-8600

Nearly a decade of work, representing $322 million invested along 18 miles

CENTRALIA – Over the course of the past nine years, construction has dramatically reshaped the Interstate 5 corridor in south Thurston and north Lewis counties. Work is now coming to an end on this stretch of road, vital for moving freight and people.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the Washington State Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the final Nickel/TPA funded project in the area that brought significant congestion-relief and safety improvements to Centralia.

“This work will help drive down collisions and improve travel times on this portion of the West Coast’s busiest highway,” said WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator Bart Gernhart. “By partnering with local community members, we incorporated their vision of a safer and more efficient I-5 corridor that will have lasting benefits for all travelers.”

Centralia improvements

The work on I-5 in Centralia is part of the two-phased project that modified the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue ramps and added new direct roadway connections that parallel the freeway to carry local traffic between the two interchanges. The local connectors improve safety by reducing merge weaving and prevents backups onto the interstate. Additional work repaired existing bridges across the Skookumchuck River, and regraded the freeway to improve sight distance for drivers.

Corridor improvements

Corridor construction began in 2007 when the first of five projects kicked off to improve I-5 between Maytown and Napavine. The state has invested $322 million in transportation improvements along 18 miles of interstate that includes additional lanes and new interchanges.

Next steps

Drivers should expect occasional nighttime single-lane closures during the next few weeks as WSDOT’s contractor, Scarsella Brothers, Inc., finishes guardrail installation and striping work. Additional roadside landscaping and erosion control work will be completed during the fall and winter months.

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