See a larger version of the map
showing the locations of the Union, Steamboat and Ebey Slough Bridges.
A worn and deteriorating expansion joint on the northbound I-5 Steamboat Slough Bridge.
A broken expansion joint on the northbound I-5 Ebey Slough Bridge. More photos
on the website.
Photos on Flickr.
- Driver alert: Weekend expansion joint replacement work resumes in the northbound direction the weekend of June 3-6.
- Two narrow lanes will be open during the weekend work and the SR 529 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed.
- The speed limit through the area is reduced to 45 mph.
- To find out which weekends are affected and the direction of work, check weekend lane reduction hours.
- Read the latest news release.
- Keep track of traffic through the project area with the Snohomish County traffic map.
Crews will replace a total of 41 aging expansion joints on the Interstate 5 Ebey Slough, Union Slough and Steamboat Slough bridges between Everett and Marysville.
Why is WSDOT
replacing 41 expansion joints on the bridges?
The bridge expansion joints range in age from 20 to 30 years old. They have exceeded their useful lifespan and are beginning to fail. They have deteriorated to the point that replacing them is necessary to keep the bridges in good working order. Ongoing problems with the expansion joints include:
- Broken and missing steel bars and panels.
- Protruding or missing bolts.
- Torn rubber seals that no longer prevent water from seeping into the expansion joints. This can cause additional deterioration to the joint and the bridge.
- Missing concrete around many of the expansion joints.
Thousands of commuters, freight haulers and travelers use I-5 every day. The interstate is the backbone of the Washington economy and it's vital that we keep people and goods moving on it. Replacing the expansion joints protect and preserve the bridges, maintain traffic flow and enhance the economy. These are vital elements in Results WSDOT (pdf 149 kb), the agency's strategic plan for 2014-2017.
Washington's highway infrastructure is aging. Repairing and replacing components such as these bridge joints helps extend the lifespan of these bridges.
What happens if they aren't replaced?
Bridge damage or failure
- The odds increase that the expansion will fail leading to severe damage of the bridges. Damaged and failed joints can cause a bridge to bend, crack, or even collapse. Replacing the expansion joints reduces the likelihood of unexpected lane or bridge closures that would bring traffic to a standstill while lengthy emergency repairs are performed.
- Deteriorating bridge expansion joints pose a safety hazard to drivers. They can unexpectedly pop up into traffic, damaging vehicles and cause drivers to swerve to avoid them, increasing the risk of collisions.
What do expansion joints do?
Expansion joints are critical to how a bridge functions. They allow the concrete sections of a bridge to expand and contract as the temperature changes and traffic loads vary.
The three bridges have three different types of expansion joints in various locations:
What should drivers expect?
WSDOT carefully reviewed the options for completing this work in an efficient, cost-effective manner while reducing the impact to drivers as much as possible.
Completing this work will require a combination of overnight and weekend lane reductions. The larger expansion joints require around-the-clock lane reductions for an entire weekend. Engineers anticipate eight weekends will be needed to replace the larger expansion joints. This weekend work will occur between late February and early June 2016.
We are working closely with Snohomish County, the cities of Everett, Marysville and Arlington, the Tulalip Tribes and Community Transit to coordinate construction projects and special events.
Our driver tips can help you start planning ahead.
What are the challenges we face?
- Construction coordination - Partner agencies have important projects to complete as well:
- The Tulalip Tribes are working on an expansion of the I-5/116th Street Northeast interchange.
- Arlington, Marysville and Snohomish County also have projects.
- The agencies are closely examining construction plans and schedules to reduce conflicts as much as possible.
- Weather - Severe cold or heavy rain could force construction delays.
- Public outreach - This is a large project with significant impacts to traffic. I-5 through this area attracts many travelers from throughout the region and even into Canada. A widespread outreach effort and utilizing the resources of partner agencies will be required to inform as many people as possible.
The End Result
Forty-one aging expansion joints on the Ebey Slough, Steamboat Slough and Union Slough bridges will be replaced with new expansion joints, expected to last for up to 25 years. These improvements will help maintain the bridges' structural integrity and improve driver safety.
- Preservation of infrastructure - New expansion joints will preserve the structural integrity of these bridges and extend their lifespans. The bridges are a critical part of the I-5 corridor.
- Keeping traffic moving - Replacing expansion joints reduces the risk of joint failure, allowing traffic to keep moving on this bridges.
- Maintenance - New expansion joints reduce the need for emergency repairs which can inconvenience drivers, particularly if lanes need to be closed during peak commute times.
- Safety - New expansion joints are less likely to come loose in heavy traffic. Expansion joints popping up into traffic lanes can damage vehicles and contribute to collisions as drivers try to avoid the expansion joint.
What is the project timeline?
- May 2015 - The project will be advertised for competitive bidding.
- June 2015 - The project was awarded to PCL Civil Constructors.
- Summer 2015 - Construction work began.
- Fall 2015 - Work is complete on the Union Slough bridge.
- Winter 2016 - Weekend lane reductions begin.
- June 2016 - project is scheduled for completion.
|Financial Data for PIN 100512S
||Amount ($ in thousands)
|2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding)
|2005 Gas Tax (TPA)
|Pre-Existing Funds (PEF)
Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.
How can I get more information?
WSDOT project engineer - design
WSDOT project engineer - construction
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