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What’s that hole under the I-5 overpass at 92nd?

Damaged underside of 92nd overpass on I-5 in Seattle (Courtesy of Dwayne Sigh)

KIRO Radio listener Dwayne Sigh sent me a picture recently of the damage to the underside of the I-5 overpass at 92nd, just south of Northgate. Located on the west side of the freeway, there is a giant hole in the concrete adjacent to the southbound lanes.

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The Washington State Department of Transportation noticed the damage and sent inspectors out to take a look.

“There’s a short block wall, and some of the blocks were taken out,” said WSDOT’s Bart Treece. “There’s also some drainage damage out there as well.”

Treece said the state believes the blocks were taken by residents of nearby homeless encampments.

“There’s people experiencing homelessness in the area,” he said.  The drainage issue is not related to that homeless activity.

The bottom line for WSDOT is that the overpass is safe and this damage did not impact that.

“Nothing that is going to affect the integrity of it,” Treece said. “It’s safe.”

But this isn’t the only place where damage to WSDOT property is happening.

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“We do see it pretty frequently,” he said. “It is something that we want to take a closer look at, if we do notice it, to make sure that there’s nothing more serious going on.”

The state is balancing a fine line. Treece said the agency wants to keep people away from these areas for their own safety and for the safety of workers who need to get into these spots to inspect the structures.

“It’s not something we want to see more of,” he said. “We want to see less of this, and we’re looking to find ways to protect those areas and keep people out who shouldn’t be back there.”

The damage at this spot doesn’t need to immediately be fixed. It can be handled during ongoing maintenance.

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