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Expansion joint repairs could delay Seahawks game travel

(KIRO 7)

It’s been two years since an expansion joint on I-5 was replaced in Tukwila, but it has already failed.

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You might remember all the weekend closures of I-5 between Federal Way and Seattle you endured as the Washington State Department of Transportation replaced expansion joints and the concrete panels. A recently-repaired expansion joint popped in August, and now it’s time to replace it.

“It broke in the afternoon, and we had to go out and make an emergency repair just to get the piece out of the way,” said Tom Pearce with the Washington State Department of Transportation. “Now, we’re going back to do a permanent repair and put in some new steel.”

Engineers thought this particular expansion joint could be reused when repaired earlier.

“When we designed this joint, we felt we could reuse the steel,” Pearce said. “It turned out that’s not the case.”

The state will be reducing I-5 to just two lanes over the weekend across the Duwamish River Bridge to start the job.

The closure starts at 10 p.m. Friday and lasts through midnight on Sunday.

“It’s going to take us two weekends to replace this expansion joint,” Pearce said. “This weekend we’re going to do the left half. Next weekend, we’ll do the right half.”

Pearce understands that this will impact Seahawks fans getting to the game on Sunday, if they’re coming from the south. Just how bad the delays could be will be up to how many people choose a different way to get to the stadium. Using light rail is a good option. You can park at Angle Lake or Tukwila and avoid I-5.

Seattle is one of the worst cities to drive in

The forecast is a little dicey for the weekend, but Pearce said the contractor can handle a little rain. We will be watching the forecast and waiting for WSDOT to make the call, but drivers should start preparing for delays into Seattle this weekend.

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