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Construction, road closures will cause problems this weekend

A before picture taken prior to the placement of 10 new girders over I-5. Both directions of I-5 will be closed overnight Aug. 28-29 between Fife and Federal Way. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

Drivers are going to need a plan to get around the region because of some major overnight closures on I-5 this weekend.

Both directions of I-5 between Federal Way and Fife will be closed Friday and Saturday night. The closures begin at 11 p.m. each night and should be wrapped up by 8 a.m. the next morning. The closure extends 4.5 miles from the Highway 18 interchange in Federal Way to the 54th Avenue interchange in Fife.

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

Contractors need those 18 hours to move 10, 220-foot-long concrete girders into place over the freeway that will serve as the base of the new 70th Avenue overpass.

Laura Newborn with the Washington Department of Transportation is asking drivers to avoid the area.

“We have set up detours that we’re asking people to use, but most importantly we are asking drivers who can avoid the area, to avoid trips during that closure time,” Newborn said.

The primary detour route from the north is Highway 18 to 167 to 512 and back to I-5 in Lakewood. From the south, it’s the same, just in reverse. That’s a 24-mile detour.

Highway 99 is also a detour route, but Newborn is asking drivers to leave that for people going into Tacoma and not through Tacoma to somewhere else since it can’t handle a lot of extra traffic.

If your weekend trips will take you out of Seattle on I-5, the Ship Canal Bridge could be a real problem.

Only one northbound lane of the bridge will be open Friday and Saturday night. That’s a loss of three-quarters of the bridge’s capacity. The lane closures begin at 9 p.m. each night and should be finished by 9 a.m. each morning. The closure begins just after 520 and extends to 45th Street. The state will be doing concrete repair and expansion joint work. Drivers should have a smoother trip over the bridge come Sunday morning.

Drivers in Duvall will have to wait until Monday to get Highway 203 back.

The culvert replacement work, which has had the road closed for nearly a month, is running a little behind. The contractor needs more time to fill in the dirt around the new culvert.

This is the project we highlighted at the end of July. The contractor used lightweight fiberglass molds that can be moved by hand instead of heavy machinery. This is the first time this construction method has been used on the West Coast.

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