By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
MONROE — Widening Highway 522 is going to be a blast.
Explosions to remove tons of rock as part of the state’s $128.8 million project are expected to happen in late May.
State Department of Transportation engineers are holding a public meeting Tuesday at Monroe High School to explain the construction. An engineer also will give a presentation at that night’s City Council meeting.
“We want to make sure drivers are in the loop,” state transportation spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.
The blasting is part of a $128.8 million project to widen Highway 522 to four lanes.
The highway will be widened south and west of Monroe, over a four-mile stretch from 179th Avenue SE to the Snohomish River bridge. A concrete-barrier median will be installed to prevent head-on collisions.
From 2005 to 2009, there were 92 collisions on the stretch, three of them fatal and one serious, according to the state.
Crews need to remove 300,000 cubic yards of rock for the westbound lanes of the highway. A portion of the highway is scheduled to be closed during the explosive work, set for 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Altogether, the Transporation Department figures it will schedule closures of the highway between Echo Lake Road and 164th Street for about 150 days to get the work done.
There could be between three to five closures a week, the earliest beginning the week of May 21. All blasting work is weather dependent and is likely to take until summer of 2013 to be complete, Pembroke said.
The entire project is scheduled to be done by 2014.
Before each blast, the contractor is required to sound a horn, and people may hear rumblings during the blastings.
For the project, state road crews also will build bridges and require other night-time closures. In total, there will be four new bridges, including a 1,700-foot-long bridge over the Snohomish River. A roundabout at 164th Street SE and a noise wall near 171st Avenue SE are part of the project.
“People should expect to see a lot of activity day and night,” Pembroke said.
For more information, people can visit the Department of Transportation website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR522/Widen/SnoRiver_US2.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can learn more about the rock blasting scheduled for Highway 522 in late May at a meeting with state traffic engineers from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Monroe High School Commons, 17001 Tester Road.