Southbound travel on Interstate 5 is about to experience another minor hiccup as workers move to place the newly built replacement span across the Skagit River this weekend.
With the girders and rail system for the big move already in place, the final step, pouring the concrete deck, was completed earlier this week, setting up crews to finish the months-long construction project.
The current plan has the span sliding into place on the night of Saturday, September 14 once the concrete has fully cured, and drivers motoring across a new, permanent span on Sunday morning.
“The contractor will detour I-5 traffic through the cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon for approximately 12 hours in order to remove the temporary spans and install the permanent span,” said Washington State Department of Transportation assistant regional administrator Jay Drye. “Moving bridges is not easy. Drivers need to stay engaged and plan for detours.”
A portion of the I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River near Mount Vernon on May 23, after a semi truck struck critical steel supports. This vital corridor carries more than 70,000 vehicles each day and is the only north-south interstate in Washington state.
The bridge reopened to traffic on June 19, after crews installed temporary spans.
On Saturday, September 14 crews from Max J. Kuney Company will detour traffic on I-5 between College Way and George Hopper Road from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. using the detour routes that were established when the bridge was closed in late May.
Updates on the detour hours will be available on the project website.
While the contractor expects the detour to last only 12 hours, it is a complex operation and the closure could be extended several hours.
Once the traffic is detoured, crews will move the two temporary spans out of the way using hydraulic jacks that slide on Teflon pads and long steel rails. Crews will then use a similar system to slide the new 900-ton span into position from the west side of the existing bridge and lower and lock it into place.
During the detours, you can visit the camera page at wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/SkagitRiverBridgeReplacement/cameras.htm
to see how the work is proceeding, current traffic conditions or visit the project website for updates or to sign up for email updates. WSDOT advises travelers to practice patience and allow plenty of time to travel if they need to use this route during the detour.
Beginning Monday, September 16, drivers can expect additional nighttime detours of one or both directions of I-5 at the Skagit River Bridge that will continue through mid-November. The detours will give contractor crews the space they need to begin retrofitting the overhead bridge supports.