CHOKEPOINTS

Roadwork that led to major traffic backups on I-5 north concludes for now

Jun 27, 2024, 1:45 PM | Updated: 5:14 pm

Image: Traffic on Interstate 5 north between mile posts 85 and 88 was backed up for miles due to ro...

Traffic on Interstate 5 north between mile posts 85 and 88 was backed up for miles due to roadwork on Thursday, June 27, 2024. (Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Transportation)

(Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Transportation)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) warned drivers in the state that Interstate 5 (I-5) north approaching Grand Mound around the line between Thurston and Lewis counties would be reduced to one lane due to roadwork this week.

But that didn’t stop travelers from taking to the road and they saw backups yet again day Thursday.

WSDOT stated in a post on X Thursday morning workers would be operating between MP 85 at the Lewis/Thurston County line and MP 88 in Grand Mound. As it has the previous three days this week. The agency also suggested, again, that drivers expect delays if they can’t wait until the afternoon to complete their trips.

In another X post put up just after 9:20 a.m., the transportation agency wrote the work, which was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m., started late due to the weather. That will push the conclusion time to after 2:30 p.m.

Around 11 a.m., WSDOT sent out another update on X reporting that there was a four-mile backup into Centralia and travelers will see long delays.

The agency sent out its final X post on the work Thursday afternoon noting that the road had been cleared.

WSDOT originally reported the work would take place from Monday through Thursday and hasn’t yet reported any extensions of that work.

Wednesday’s I-5 north traffic backup

WSDOT reported on X just before 9:20 a.m. Wednesday lanes were just starting to close lanes on I-5 north near Scatter Creek. As with the previous days this week, workers were set to be on the road will be on the road until after 2:30 p.m. and just one lane would be open during that time. The agency continued to advise drivers to wait to travel until the work is finished. Those who are traveling in the area should expect delays.

The transportation agency reported in an X post just before 11:15 a.m. that I-5 north was reduced to one lane and there was a three-mile backup between Scatter Creek and the US 12 interchange at Grand Mound.

WSDOT posted photos of the work being done just before 2 p.m. and stated at that time the traffic backup was still three miles long.

The agency posted again just after 2:30 p.m. to alert users that the work was complete and workers were in the process of picking up traffic control to get the freeway back to normal.

Tuesday’s traffic backup

On Tuesday, WSDOT workers were working just north of Exit 88 at Grand Mound. The agency posted on X just before 2:15 p.m. that Tuesday’s work was completed, but traffic control had not yet been picked up. The backup at that time was just under two miles, WSDOT said on X. That changed by 3:30 p.m. as traffic control had been about picked up, according to another post on X.

Earlier in the day, the agency advised people through X to expect significant delays until after 2:30 p.m. It also suggested delaying travel until after the work is done.

WSDOT posted photos of the work being done Tuesday and reported on X that, as of about 11 a.m., the traffic backup was two miles.

WSDOT reported in a separate X post shortly after 5 p.m. that additional pavement repairs on I-5 between Grand Mound and Maytown were set to take place Tuesday night. Night crews were scheduled to work in the I-5 south lanes between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Wednesday.

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Monday’s traffic backup

The roadwork led to a significant backup that at one point appeared to extend to more than 20 miles on the freeway Monday afternoon, as captured by WSDOT cameras and according to listeners reaching out and sending texts to KIRO Newsradio.

WSDOT spokesman Doug Adamson reached out to MyNorthwest Wednesday and stated the backups didn’t reach the 20-mile mark Monday as it would have stretched down to Winlock. Instead, the backup got as far south as Chehalis.

The agency posted on X just before 1:30 p.m. Monday to inform users the work near Centralia was complete and they were waiting for the materials to dry. Shortly after 2:10 p.m., the agency stated its workers were “picking up traffic control” in that area. Another post on X just before 3:40 p.m. indicated the work was done for the day and all lanes were open to traffic again.

More on the I-5 roadwork

WSDOT released information last week related to the work on the roads, explaining that two-mile sections of I-5 north would be reduced to one lane. Specifically, the work is expected to take place from the Lewis County line to Maytown. (Washington State Patrol Public Information Officer Trooper John Dattilo reposted the WSDOT statement on X last week.)

The agency said in a statement the road’s lanes will be closed so workers can “fill gaps in the surface of the roadway and fix potholes.” In addition, workers need warm and dry conditions to perform the repairs. WSDOT posted photos of the work being done on X Monday afternoon as well.

The expectation is that once the roadwork is complete, the rate of deterioration of the freeway will be reduced.

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WSDOT has asked travelers to consider rescheduling some trips during the construction hours and travel early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Most notably, the agency has suggested travelers who do need to be on the road to add two hours of extra time to their trips.

Editors’ note: This story originally was published on Monday, June 24, 2024. It has been updated and republished multiple times since then.

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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Roadwork that led to major traffic backups on I-5 north concludes for now