SR 520 reopens after weekend of construction
SEATTLE – Both directions of State Route 520 reopened on-time this morning after crews worked half the weekend to install massive concrete girders in Medina for a future lidded overpass and to create a wider median work zone on the Eastside.
Westbound drivers will notice some changes this morning. Carpools and vanpools will be required to merge into general traffic lanes a half-mile farther east than before. An expanded median work zone also shifts westbound traffic slightly to the right approaching 84th Avenue Northeast. Drivers also will travel beneath an ever-growing lid at Evergreen Point Road.
“Our work is moving along at a good clip in this corridor, and drivers need to pay special attention as we adjust lane configurations so crews can build supports for future lids above the highway,” said Brian Dobbins, Washington State Department of Transportation SR 520 Eastside construction manager. “By installing these girders in Medina now, the contractor can spend the coming months building the lid that eventually will include a park and ride, transit access, landscaping and paths.”
Crews scheduled the highway closure late Saturday night to accommodate evening traffic to the University of Washington football game. The westbound lanes of the highway closed after 10 p.m. Saturday and eastbound closed after 1 a.m. Sunday. On Sunday, traffic was heavier on Interstates 5, 90 and 405 as drivers shifted their routes away from the closed SR 520 highway and navigated around the closed I-5 on- and off-ramps to Mercer Street. WSDOT prescheduled adjustments to the I-5 and I-90 express lane schedules to help keep traffic flowing during the construction closures.
About 75 construction workers were needed this weekend to expand the median work zone on the highway and install 22 steel-reinforced concrete girders in Medina. Two sizes of girders were installed in equal numbers: smaller girders measure 70 feet long, each weigh about 48 tons and span the eastbound lanes; larger 142-foot-long girders each weigh about 106 tons and are above westbound traffic. In all, an estimated 3.4 million pounds of steel-reinforced concrete girders were installed.
The next major SR 520 highway closure is planned overnight during a weekend in December when crews set girders for a future lidded overpass at 92nd Avenue Northeast. The time and dates for the next closure will be announced in coming weeks. 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. Construction on the project is expected to be complete December 2013.
More information about the project is online at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202/default.
Hyperlinks in this news release
· Evergreen Point Road lid diagrams http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202/MedinatoSR202EnvInfo.htm#lids
· Construction photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157628069253280/with/6319495563