Work crews crunching away at an old freeway ramp in the Salmon Creek area are a bit ahead of schedule — but don’t plan a celebratory joyride on Interstate 205 just yet.
The Washington State Department of Transportation still plans to close the freeway for two more nights near Northeast 134th Street as the rest of the ramp — which passed directly over I-205 — comes out. The northbound side of the freeway will close from 10 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. Saturday. Crews then plan to shut down both directions of I-205 from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.
Workers are removing the onramp that used to connect 134th Street to northbound Interstate 5. In preparation for the demolition, WSDOT last week redirected traffic to a new ramp at Northeast 139th Street. That’s where a new east-west bridge over the freeways will become the centerpiece of the $133 million Salmon Creek Interchange Project.
Much of the new bridge has already taken shape. But workers had to remove the old ramp from 134th Street to make room for the full span, which will stretch between Northeast 10th and 20th avenues.
By Thursday morning, the sections of the ramp that passed directly over I-205 were gone. Only support structures remained in the median and off both shoulders. Traffic whizzed by piles of twisted rebar, concrete rubble and wood debris.
Some waste material had already been sorted next to the freeway. That’s because WSDOT plans to recycle all of it for future projects, said agency spokeswoman Heidi Sause.
During the final two nights of closures, northbound I-205 will remain open to local traffic as far up as 134th Street. Southbound traffic will be diverted to I-5 at the I-205 split for Saturday night’s closure. But WSDOT has urged drivers to avoid freeway travel during the closures if possible, particularly if the final leg of the work stretches into Sunday morning.
WSDOT has beat deadlines before on the Salmon Creek project. In June, a planned 54-hour closure of I-5 for overhead girder setting was done in less than half that time. If ramp razing finishes early this weekend, WSDOT could open I-205 early, Sause said.
For now, the closure schedule stands as planned, she said.
“We’re taking it a day at a time,” Sause said. “Obviously, we’re not going to close the interstate unless it’s necessary for the work that needs to be done.”