I-5 - NB MLK Jr Way to NE Ravenna Br - Pavement Repair & More

Project news

  • People traveling on northbound I-5 should plan for overnight lane reductions between 8 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
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Contractor crews working on nearly 13 miles of northbound Interstate 5 from Martin Luther King Junior Way South/State Route 900 to Northeast Ravenna Boulevard will:

  • replace 37 expansion joints 
  • replace large sections of concrete pavement
  • grind the roadway 
  • repave
  • add pedestrian ramp upgrades and safety barrier improvements. 

This is substantial weather-sensitive highway work that will require multiple nighttime lane closures. Some work required weekend-long lane reductions of closures; those were completed in 2018. The project schedule must carefully coordinate with nearby construction projects, the City of Seattle and transit agencies.

Needs and benefits 

Approximately 100,000 vehicles use this section of northbound I-5 each day. The interstate was built in the 1960s. The concrete pavement was only intended to last 25 years, but has now more than doubled its lifespan.

In addition to its age, the increasing number of cars and heavy trucks on the road, along with freeze/thaw cycles, have contributed to the deterioration of the highway. Drivers can notice this in the tell-tale "thump, thump, thump" of their vehicle's wheels. That's the sign of a broken concrete panel that is rocking back and forth, and beyond its lifespan. 

Benefits include:

  • Preservation: Replacing broken concrete panels, repaving and grinding the roadway improves the driving surface and extends the life of I-5. Replacing bridge expansion joints ensures the highway will remain safe and operational.
  • Safety: Improving the highway surface eliminates and helps prevent potholes, cracks and wheel ruts, making for a smoother ride for drivers. Replacing expansion joints reduces the chances that an aging joint could become dislodged or fail, creating a hazard to drivers and forcing an emergency closure of the bridge. Reconstructed ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps create an easier transition between street and sidewalk.
  • Economic: Replacing broken concrete panels, repaving and replacing bridge expansion joints reduces the need for emergency repairs, which are costly to taxpayers and can cause additional congestion during peak commute hours.

What should drivers expect? 

Successfully completing this work on northbound I-5 requires extensive traffic limits, including:

  • Overnight lane and ramp closures throughout the duration of the project.
  • Generally, no closures will be allowed on Friday nights.
  • In 2018, multiple weekend-long lane reductions and associated ramp closures to replace large sections of conrcete highway were finished. 

The End Result 

This preservation and improvement work will extend the useful life of the interstate for years to come, creating safer and improved driving conditions for the thousands of travelers who use it each day. This project is part of a years-long effort to preserve I-5 through King County.


  • December 2016: Project was advertised for competitive bidding.
  • May 2017: Project was awarded to Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC.
  • August 2017: Construction began.
  • Late 2019: Construction is scheduled to be complete.


Financial Data for PIN 100512T, 100515B, 100515C, 100516E, 100516G, 100519B, 100522C
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $16,798
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $35,276
CWA $0
Total $52,074


Tom Pearce

A small map of the pavement repair project along nearly 13 miles of northbound I-5 from Martin Luther King Junior Way South/SR 900 to Northeast Ravenna Boulevard in Seattle.

A small photo of several cracked and patched concrete panels and deteriorated expansion joints on nothbound I-5 through Seattle.

There are numerous cracked and patched concrete panels and failing bridge expansion joints on northbound I-5 through Seattle.