Interstate 5 from Kent to South Seattle will get a much-needed facelift in its northbound lanes as crews launch a series of roadway repairs, but it’s a project that will take years to complete.
That roadway is more than 50 years old but was only supposed to last for about 25 years. The Washington State Transportation Department says the entire repair project will take up to three years to complete.
The restoration project will include almost 22 miles of northbound I-5.
More than 200,000 vehicles use I-5 daily. According to the state, that adds up to 73 million families, commuters, and freight carriers every year.
“We’ve been maintaining I-5 for more than 50 years, but it’s time for major preservation work so the interstate can continue to serve our region for decades to come,” said WSDOT Northwest Regional Administrator Lorena Eng.
The work will be separated into two projects. The first begins in south King County when crews begin the long process of restoring northbound I-5 between South 260th Street in Kent and the Duwamish River in Tukwila. That restoration will include replacing expansion joints — four at Interurban Avenue and four on the Duwamish River Bridge — repaving four miles of all lanes between South 216th Street in SeaTac and South 178th Street in Tukwila, and replacing more than 400 concrete panels.
The first project will reduce northbound I-5 to two lanes on 10 weekends.
Later this year, crews will work on northbound I-5 between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Northeast Ravenna Boulevard in Seattle. By late 2019, crews will replace 37 expansion joints, replace all concrete panels from near the West Seattle Bridge to the express lane ramp, replace hundreds of broken concrete panels, and repave 24 on- and off-ramps.
According to the state, the work this year will occur at night. In 2018 to 2019, crews will work at night but may work up to 16 weekends, which will require northbound I-5 lane closures.