I-5 girder installations will create new traffic pattern overnight

Jun 27, 2023, 12:32 PM

Drivers on Northbound I-5, near State Route 516, will be rerouted to the southbound I-5 HOV lane be...

Drivers on Northbound I-5, near State Route 516, will be rerouted to the southbound I-5 HOV lane beginning at midnight through 4 a.m. the next morning. (Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

Construction will continue placing girders over Interstate 5 starting Tuesday night in Des Moines, which means lane closures and an unlikely detour.

Drivers on Northbound I-5, near State Route 516, will be rerouted to the southbound I-5 HOV lane beginning at midnight through 4 a.m. the next morning.

Summer means traffic delays for Washington highways

“One direction of I-5 at a time will be reduced to a single open lane overnight,” the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT)’s Kris Olsen said. “That single open lane is actually going to be funneled across the median and into the HOV lane of the opposite side of I-5.”

These nightly closures will take place Monday through Friday and could take a couple of weeks. All northbound I-5 lanes will close along with the SR 516 onramp.

“This is not something that we take lightly, and it’s not something that we do very often,” Olsen said. “These are big, long, very heavy girders that required two cranes and a lot of room to maneuver.”

The girders range in size from 65 feet to nearly 200 feet long. They weigh anywhere from 95 to 126 tons.

Concrete barriers are in place to protect drivers from oncoming traffic while they navigate past the work zone. Once beyond the work zone, drivers will cross back over the median to return to normal travel lanes.

(Photo from WSDOT)

30 of these girders are being placed over I-5 to create two new bridges over the freeway. Once crews finish the northbound girder setting, they will switch to the southbound lanes.

This is all related to the extension of SR 509 from I-5 to the south end of Sea-Tac airport. This will culminate in the creation of a new tollway that will be put in place to provide direct access to the airport from the south, which is expected to be built next year.

No work is scheduled for July 3 and 4.

You can read more of Nate Connor’s stories here. Follow the KIRO Newsradio traffic team on Twitter for more traffic updates

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I-5 girder installations will create new traffic pattern overnight