SEATTLE – Crews reopened both directions of State Route 520 this morning after working through the weekend to install massive concrete girders in Medina. Eastbound drivers also will see a slight traffic shift around a new median work zone east of 84th Avenue Northeast.
“It took most of the weekend and two huge cranes to place two dozen girders at Evergreen Point Road, but we got it done and the highway is back open,” said Brian Dobbins, Washington State Department of Transportation SR 520 Eastside construction manager. “Drivers really made the difference by shifting how and when they traveled this weekend, and we greatly appreciate that. We’ve got more closures coming soon.”
The highway closed for construction at 8 p.m. Saturday, allowing fans to get to and from Husky Stadium for the University of Washington football game, and allow Sounders fans to get downtown for the 7:30 p.m. kick-off. Those sporting events and typical weekend travel meant heavy traffic on Interstates 5, 90 and 405, as drivers shifted their routes away from the closed SR 520 highway and ramps. WSDOT adjusted the I-90 express lane schedule to help keep traffic flowing.
About 75 workers were needed this weekend to create the median work zone on the highway and install two sizes of girders. The smaller 70-foot-long girders each weighed approximately 48 tons and now span the eastbound lanes; the larger 142-foot-long girders each weighed approximately 106 tons and are above westbound traffic. In all, an estimated 3.7 million pounds of steel-reinforced concrete girders were installed.
The work is in preparation for a future lid above the highway at Evergreen Point Road, which will include transit facilities, community connections and landscaping.
The next major highway closure is planned for 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, to 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7, to set 24 more girders at Evergreen Point Road. The closure start time will be rescheduled if the Nov. 5 UW football game is scheduled in the evening. We will not close the bridge until at least two hours after the game ends. By scheduling major construction closures on weekends, the highway stays open for commuters and businesses during the work week.
The work is part of WSDOT’s SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project, a three-year, $306-million widening of SR 520 to make it safer with more reliable travel times. When complete, the highway will have three lanes in both directions from Medina to Bellevue. The project includes rebuilding interchanges, adding lanes for buses and carpools, installing fish-passable culverts and building highway lids and transit stops in the center of the highway. WSDOT awarded the design-build contract to Eastside Corridor Constructors (ECC), a joint venture of Granite Construction Company and PCL Construction Services.
Complete SR 520 highway construction closures are limited to no more than 20 weekends during the next three years. The completed corridor is scheduled to be open to traffic in December 2013. More information about the project is online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202/default.
Hyperlinks in this news release
· Evergreen Point Road lid diagrams www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202/MedinatoSR202EnvInfo.htm#lids
· Construction photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157627785635109/