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  Project Update: I-5, Mellen St. to Blakeslee Junction (MTB)

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

Construction update: April 7, 2014

You’ve probably noticed a lot of activity around the MTB project area lately. We’re coming up on a couple of important milestones, and I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing and where we’re headed this spring and summer.

Mellen Street area

Crews working the south end of the project are currently installing steel rebar mats for the Mellen Street couplet bridge deck. In a few weeks, they’ll pour concrete for the driving surface and cover it with big blankets to start the curing (drying/hardening) process.

The couplet bridge is on-schedule to be complete and open to traffic late this year. Crews are also continuing to work on drainage around Mellen Street and the Long Road dike tie-in to the south.

The fill dirt we’ve been hauling in and placing along I-5 all winter is in its “settlement period,” a time when we allow the dirt to settle in so we can see if there are areas that need adjustment, additional fill, etc.

Blakeslee Junction area

Crews working on the north end of the project are making progress toward shifting northbound I-5 traffic to the new bridge over Reynolds Avenue. They installed median barrier last week and have some additional grading work to do before they can look for a window of dry weather to pave and stripe new lanes.

Once they finish paving and striping, crews will shift two lanes of northbound I-5 onto the new bridge and prepare to demolish the old northbound bridges over Reynolds.

Timing for the traffic shift and demolition depends on when we get enough dry days to pave and stripe. We’re aiming for mid- to late April at this point, but fickle spring weather means the schedule could change week to week. I’ll let you know as far in advance as possible once we have a good date for this work.

Demolition = Reynolds Avenue closures

Some closures of Reynolds Avenue at I-5 are necessary when crews work overhead to demolish the old I-5 bridges. The dates aren’t set yet because, as I rambled about in the previous paragraph, work leading up to demolition is weather-dependent.

We also don't know what days and times Reynolds will be closed yet, because we’re working our closures in around two different railroad schedules, and the railroads have the right of way over highway and local traffic. However, we are working with the Centralia School District to hopefully avoid impacting school bus schedules in the mornings and afternoons.

We’ll announce closure dates and times as soon as we have them, and are planning to provide closure times by email 24 hours in advance. If you would like to receive specific information about closures of Reynolds Avenue, please send a quick note to reynoldsclosure@wsdot.wa.gov and ask to be added to the closure email list.


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