Weekend road work: The bridges working against traffic flow

Mar 7, 2024, 2:12 PM | Updated: Mar 8, 2024, 2:17 pm

Photo: The Nisqually River Bridge will be cleaned this weekend as I-5 sees road work....

The Nisqually River Bridge will be cleaned this weekend as I-5 sees road work. (Photo: WSDOT)

(Photo: WSDOT)

Late Update 3/8/24 2:20 P.M. — The SB 405 exit to EB 520 closes overnight Friday for repair work.  Closure starts at 9 p.m., reopening sometime early Saturday morning once work is complete.

Other road work items:

The Nisqually River Bridge stood tall, its steel girders stretching across the water. Beneath its massive arches flowed the Nisqually River, its waters a mirror reflecting the gray sky above.

But this weekend, the bridge will not be a mere conduit for cars and trucks — it will be the stage for an annual ritual: The great bridge cleaning.

Saturday and Sunday mornings, the bridge will buzz with activity. Crews in fluorescent vests will swarm like industrious ants, armed with pressure washers, brushes, and determination. Their mission: to scrub away the grime, the accumulated residue of countless tires and exhaust fumes.

More traffic: Sound Transit parking changes on the way

The southbound lanes of Interstate 5 (I-5) will be reduced to a mere two, a bottleneck of traffic inching along.

It’s like a doctor’s appointment for the bridge, a thorough examination to ensure its health.

But the northbound lanes will remain untouched. Their turn will come later

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the keeper of schedules, had yet to announce when the northbound lanes will be taken care of.

East Mercer Way closure with road work ahead

Meanwhile, over on Mercer Island, another saga unfolded. The lane closure at East Mercer Way will have commuters navigating like chess pieces.

Originally, contractors were going to restripe lanes this weekend, but that has been pushed off for another week.

Weather permitting, the lanes will soon regain their symmetry, and I-90 east commuters will find help in a fourth lane.

And then there was the failing expansion joint — a stubborn ailment that defied quick fixes. It lingered in the design phase, awaiting a custom-built remedy.

Southcenter concrete panels up for repair

Down at Southcenter, the night belonged to the concrete panels. They had suffered during December’s relentless rains, their once-solid surfaces now marred by cracks.

WSDOT crews will continue to descend, armed with jackhammers and determination.

The northbound lanes will close Friday from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Another Chokepoint: Expanded tolling on SR 520 to pay for project may be coming

The southbound lanes will close Saturday from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

When work is complete, drivers will sail across a smoother surface.

Drivers should avoid the area during repair work or plan on being stuck in lengthy backups.

Nate is a transportation and traffic reporter for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Nate’s stories here. Follow Nate on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and the KIRO Newsradio traffic team here for more traffic updates.


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