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  I-5 down to one lane in each direction near Mellen St on Dec 16

Subject: I-5 down to one lane in each direction near Mellen St. on Dec. 16

I-5, Mellen Street to Blakeslee Junction (MTB) project

Construction update: Dec. 13, 2013

I-5 down to one lane in each direction Monday, Dec. 16
I-5 near Mellen Street will be down to a single lane in each direction from 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16 until 4 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, while contractor crews set five bridge girders over the interstate.

The 152-foot-long girders, which form the backbone of the new Mellen Street couplet bridge, are being delivered by truck Monday night. The trucks will park in the closed left lanes on both directions of I-5 just south of Mellen Street. Two cranes working from each side of the interstate will pick up the girders and set them in place over the lanes of I-5.

Why are we closing lanes for this work?
There are two ways to set girders. One can launch them across open space from the side of the future bridge, or one can “pick and set,” where a crane lifts and sets girders into place.

Because of the method we’re using to build this bridge, the launching method isn’t an option, so we have to pick and set. The girders are quite long and require two cranes to lift. Staging the girders on I-5 right next to the bridge means the cranes can work much more safely and efficiently because they don’t have to do a lot of maneuvering over the interstate. They can just reach down to the trucks, hook up to the girders, and slowly move them right into place.

In addition to closing a lane, crews will also slow I-5 drivers down periodically to create gaps in traffic so no drivers are under the girders when they’re being set into place.

10 p.m. to 4 a.m. is the slowest time of day, traffic-wise, so backups shouldn’t be too serious. Still, you’re likely to see congestion on I-5, and if Mellen Street is your go-to entrance or exit, you might consider using a different interchange Monday night.

Next steps
Once girders are set and secured, crews will start building the 154-foot-long, 43-foot-wide bridge deck. They will first build a wooden support structure around the deck, then place and tie together mats of steel rebar and pour concrete to form the driving surface.

Once the bridge is complete, crews will build the ramps and connecting roadways, and reconfigure the existing Mellen Street intersection. When the couplet is complete in late 2014, traffic will move in a counter-clockwise direction, improving traffic flow in the historically congested Mellen Street area.

The entire MTB project is on schedule for completion in late 2015.



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