CHOKEPOINTS

Construction will jam up your summer trip to Mount Rainier

Apr 25, 2023, 4:40 AM

Photo: A view of Mount Rainier is photographed from an Alaska Airlines flight flying at 25,000 feet...

A view of Mount Rainier is photographed from an Alaska Airlines flight flying at 25,000 feet on September 21, 2021 makes us think about how climate change could affect us and our planet. (Photo: George Rose, Getty Images)

(Photo: George Rose, Getty Images)

Who doesn’t love a summer trip to Mount Rainier? You might want a book to read along the way this summer because construction is going to make that trip extremely difficult.

That trip along State Route 7 to Mount Rainier is not going to be very fun.

Mount Rainier, national parks receive ‘record-setting’ $1.1 million

Starting Monday, three construction projects are being rolled into one between Spanaway and Eatonville, which will cause long delays. The construction zone is about six miles long between 267th Street East and State Route 702.

“This summer is going to be very, very busy where we’ll have paving as well as a fish barrier removal project,” the Washington Department of Transportation’s Doug Adamson said.

The three projects were rolled into one to save time and money.

“It’s like that band-aid,” Adamson said. “Do you pull it off really slowly, or do you rip it off? In this case, we’re combining the paving as well as these two fish barrier removal projects at the same time, or we would have had to come back over two separate construction seasons.”

The lane closures could come day or night for paving and will come with single-lane alternating traffic patterns. The fish passage work requires full closures of SR-7, and Adamson said they will build small detour roads to keep traffic moving.

“We actually have to physically remove the roadway at two locations within close proximity to each other, and we’ll build a temporary one-lane road around each site, which will be directing traffic on a single-lane road at each site through traffic signals,” Adamson said.

The signals will allow one-way access around those two culvert jobs. The speed limit will only be 25 miles an hour through the area. This combination of lane reductions and one-way bypass roads will remain until the end of the fall.

“They’ll initially see a lot of work zone signs sprouting up,” Adamson said. “They’ll begin to see the contractor crews bringing their heavy equipment in there, and luckily, we’ll be able to keep the roadway open for travelers through there, so there won’t be any total road closures.”

More Chokepoints: 100+ mile Hood Canal Bridge detour will mess with summer weekends

Expect to see those bypass roads in use in mid to late May. It will take a few weeks to get them built. Adamson said you will need to plan those trips to Mount Rainier with this in mind.

“Situational awareness,” Adamson said. “I’m heading to Mount Rainier National Park. I have to meet my friends at 5 p.m. I better give myself a bit of extra time to go through there or potentially look at going through another state highway in the area and give them themselves the ability to get around it.”

Option A is likely heading over to Graham and taking State Route 161 into Eatonville, but that road cannot handle a lot of extra traffic. Option B would be taking State Route 507 to 8th Avenue South or Harts Lake Loop Road South all the way to SR-702 and joining SR-7 from there.

You could always choose the long way, taking Interstate 5 south to US 12.

Chokepoints

Image: All lanes on Interstate 5 south in Everett were closed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. It cause...

Steve Coogan

All lanes have reopened on I-5 south in Everett after an unexpected closure

All lanes reopened on Interstate 5 (I-5) south in Everett after an incident closed them Wednesday, the Department of Transportation reported.

4 hours ago

beach driving washington...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: The do’s and don’ts of beach driving in Washington

Driving on the beach is one of those great experiences that we have here in Washington, but it appears that many people don't know the rules.

1 day ago

Image: Hayden Island, east side of bridge form the shared-use path, looking north, single-level mov...

Matt Markovich

Designs unveiled for new I-5 bridge between Washington, Oregon

The first conceptual design drawings for a replacement I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon were made public Monday.

2 days ago

Image: Crews have been working on the Revive I-5 project....

Micki Gamez

Welcome to construction season: Revive I-5 in Seattle is back

Drivers moving between Seattle and Tukwila will have a hard time getting through work this weekend thanks to the Revive I-5 project.

5 days ago

State Route 529 four months...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: State Route 529 heading north to close for four months

Commuting between Everett and Marysville will be more complicated as four months of construction is about to shut down half of State Route 529.

6 days ago

Photo: Islanders for Ferry Action, a community organization based on Vashon Island, said that small...

Micki Gamez

Vashon Islanders can’t wait another 4 years for new ferry

Small businesses on Vashon Island are struggling to make ends meet because of the frequent delays and outages with the ferry system.

8 days ago

Construction will jam up your summer trip to Mount Rainier