Interstate 5 reopens at Salmon Creek

Overpass work takes 25 hours instead of planned 54 hours

By Craig Brown and Dave Kern

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It was scheduled to take 54 hours but was done in 25.

“Our contractor did a brilliant job of planning this work so they could maximize every second the interstate was closed,” Heidi Sause, a public information officer for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said Sunday morning.

“Things went very smoothly. … Northbound (Interstate 5) was open about 11:20 p.m. (Saturday) and both directions were fully opened just after midnight.”

The Department of Transportation said that the contractor, Spokane-based Max J. Kuney, was able to get a quick start on the Interstate 5 overpass project at Salmon Creek. Time was saved by staging several of the huge girders that were being placed over the freeway on-site on Friday. By midmorning Saturday, five of a dozen girders had already been installed. The last beam arrived at the job site by 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The next step, taking the span over the southbound Interstate 205 lanes, could start by the end of the month, Sause said.

She said two or three weeknight closures of those southbound lanes probably would be necessary.

The placement of the 12 monolithic concrete girders, and the closure of I-5, was one of the largest construction components of the Salmon Creek Interchange Project, a $133 million effort to remake the northern convergence of I-5 and Interstate 205.

The work will eventually result in a bridge to carry Northeast 139th Street over the two freeways.

Hoisting the 165-foot-long concrete girders over I-5 required careful choreography and three large cranes, said Allen Hendy, WSDOT project manager. Each girder weighs about 175,000 pounds.

No major traffic problems were reported.