CHOKEPOINTS

Emergency repairs to close multiple I-5 lanes in Everett this weekend

Jan 19, 2023, 5:02 AM
Everett I-5...
Washington state transit officials are going to close two of the three northbound I-5 lanes around Marine View Drive in Everett all weekend. (AP File Image)
(AP File Image)

What happens when a concrete panel rocks out of position on I-5? You get last Thursday, when south Snohomish County came to a dead stop for about eight hours.

You could not go anywhere last Thursday afternoon from Mill Creek to Everett. Not just on I-5 but on the neighborhood roads. It was gridlocked because a concrete panel rocked out of position and the edge was sticking up about three inches. It was in the center lane near Marine View Drive on northbound I-5 in Everett, where there are only three lanes.

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For more than six hours, only one lane of northbound I-5 was open, shutting down the entire area as workers made emergency repairs to the road.

You might wonder how a 15-by-12-foot concrete panel can rock out of place.

The Washington Department of Transportation‘s Tom Pearce said it is one of the panels they had started replacing last fall as part of the Revive I-5 program. Unfortunately, only 160 of the 200 panels were finished when the cold weather arrived. The final 40 panels were going to be replaced this spring.

“They decided to cut all the concrete panels that were left to be replaced so that the sub-contractor could be released,” Pearce said. “When all the panels were cut, the winter weather moved in, and we had to stop work.”

Cutting the edges of those panels left them vulnerable to moving, but Pearce said the contractor thought they would be fine.

“Our contractor expected that the cut panels would be okay through the winter, but we had the one pop up, and rather than risk having another one, we want to get in and get this work done as soon as possible,” he said.

That leads us to this weekend. To finish replacing those final 40 panels, including the one that moved last week, the state is going to close two of the three northbound I-5 lanes around Marine View Drive all weekend.

“We’re going to reduce northbound I-5 to just one lane in this three-lane section,” Pearce said. “That’s going to allow us to close the two right lanes so that we can go in and replace about 40 of those broken concrete panels that have been cut.”

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The lane closures begin at 10 p.m. Friday night and will last through early Monday morning. It’s about a three-mile closure from Broadway to the Snohomish River. The exit to Marine View Drive will also be closed.

As you would imagine, this is expected to create huge delays in the area, and not just on I-5. Pearce said drivers who would normally take the Highway 2 trestle over to I-5 should probably stick with Highway 9. You would be driving right into the closure. The westbound trestle is expected to see significant delays.

I-5 drivers should use State Route 529 to avoid the delays, but remember you can’t get there from Marine View Drive. That’s going to put a lot more people on surface streets through Everett.

The Silvertips are off this weekend, but there is the big gun show at the Angel of the Winds Arena to be aware of.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Emergency repairs to close multiple I-5 lanes in Everett this weekend