CHOKEPOINTS

Full I-5 closure this weekend between Federal Way, Fife

Aug 27, 2020, 9:09 AM | Updated: 9:23 am
girders, I-5 closure...
Some of the 220-foot girders waiting to be loaded on to trucks and moved to Fife for the new 70th Ave East Bridge can be seen in the foreground. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

We warned you about an upcoming I-5 closure last month, but your time to plan is running out.

Both directions of I-5 will be closed Friday and Saturday nights between Highway 18 in Federal Way and 54th Avenue in Fife, a 4.5 mile stretch. It’s only a nighttime closure between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., but the impacts will be felt.

Month long closure of Hwy 203 underway as state restores fish habitat

“We really want people to be aware that this closure is coming up because we know how disruptive an I-5 closure can be,” said Laura Newborn with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Workers need these 18 hours to place 10, 220 foot-long concrete girders into place. They will form the base of the new 70th Avenue overpass of I-5. Newborn said it would have taken much longer, if the contractor wasn’t local.

“Had these girders not been made close by in Tacoma — they were made at Concrete Technology Corp. — I’m not sure we could have done this,” she said.

So how is this going to work? How do you move 10 massive girders and set them in only 18 hours?

“The girders will be loaded individually on this massive truck and moved onto I-5 during the overnight hours, and on I-5 we will station two cranes that will lift the girders and move them into their exact spot,” Newborn said.

Workers will move five of the girders each night. There will be some ramp closures before the 11 p.m. nightly closure to accommodate these huge loads.

You might ask: Why go so big? Newborn said this design will save time on the freeway closures.

“Using these super long girders allowed us to build the base of the bridge in a weekend,” she said. “Had we chosen a more traditional shorter girder, we would have had to widen I-5 and build columns in the median. That would have meant extensive lane closures over a long period of time.”

This new overpass comes with all the bells and whistles and should provide a much improved trip into and out of the Port of Tacoma. It will have four lanes instead of two, and will have bike and pedestrian access too.

This overpass is the first really visible part of the Gateway Project, which will finally finish Highway 167 and Highway 509. If you’re new to our area, you might wonder why 167 ends in Puyallup. It wasn’t supposed to, but leaders stopped the funding decades ago. This project will finish the final 4 miles. It’s expected that this section will be tolled, as will the improved 509 between I-5 and the Port of Tacoma.

The final stages of the Gateway Project will finish 509 at the south end of Sea-Tac Airport. It will provide a direct south entrance and exit from the airport to I-5.

The new 70th Avenue overpass should open to traffic in about a year.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

Chokepoints

wood plank, sr 169...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT archaeologist solves mystery of structure under Maple Valley Highway

The Maple Valley Highway finally reopened to all traffic Wednesday after an unexpected discovery pushed a weekend culvert project out three days.
5 days ago
WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT accounts for 21% of state employees fired over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
7 days ago
Maple Valley Highway...
Chris Sullivan

King County crews find mystery structure under Maple Valley Highway

You never know what you'll find when you dig in this corner of the country. Road crews found that out this weekend when fixing a culvert under Highway 169.
7 days ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Chris Sullivan

Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car

The old ways of getting to the arena in downtown Seattle have intentionally been made more difficult so that public transit is a more palatable option.
12 days ago
I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Why there are bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle (and when they’ll go away)

When KIRO Radio's Dave Ross asks you to update something for him, you do it. So what's with those annoying bumps on I-5 SB out of downtown Seattle?
14 days ago
I-90, grooves...
Chris Sullivan

Why are portions of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass so ‘groovy’?

Another question from Chris Sullivan's recent driving: What's with the horizontal grooves on portions of I-90, east of Snoqualmie Pass?
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Full I-5 closure this weekend between Federal Way, Fife