Cars streak along I-5 under the116th Street NE overpass. Demolition of the overpass begins Friday night.

Cars streak along I-5 under the116th Street NE overpass. Demolition of the overpass begins Friday night.

116th Street overpass over I-5 coming down; expect detours

MARYSVILLE — Out with the old and in with the new.

The well-traveled 116th Street NE overpass above I-5 is coming down. Its wider, spanking-new replacement is waiting in the wings.

Late-night I-5 drivers can expect a short detour up and down the on and offramps.

Over the next two weekends, big machinery will munch and crunch its way across the well-worn concrete and rebar passage connecting north Marysville to the Tulalip Indian Reservation. A foot of sand will blanket the pavement below, cushioning it from falling debris.

“It’s a controlled drop,” said Debbie Bray, the Tulalip Tribes project manager for the 116th Street overpass work.

An estimated 2,000 tons of broken pavement will be hauled away over the next two weeks, Bray said. That’s the equivalent of 1,000 cars.

Granite Construction, the Tulalip Tribes contractor, is demolishing the existing deck as part of the bridge replacement project.

Work this weekend will affect northbound I-5 traffic. By midnight, the I-5 detour will be in full effect.

All lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday. Next weekend, there will be similar late-night detours for southbound traffic.

The 116th Street overpass also will be closed to traffic both weekends with the exception of emergency vehicles.

The work is in addition to periodic weekend closures through late May to replace bridge expansion joints near Marysville.

Signs, barricades and flaggers will divert traffic away from the 116th Street work.

Looky-loos should beware.

“We will have ample traffic control staff out there to ensure those who wish to stop to look will be quickly sent along their way,” Bray said.

Pedestrians can take a shuttle across I-5 on a nearby overpass.

The new overpass will accommodate six lanes of traffic, plus space for pedestrians and bicycles, and is expected to reduce gridlock at a location where 25,000 vehicles per day get off the freeway, many of them long-haul trucks stopping at Donna’s Travel Plaza just west of the interchange.

The Tulalips kickstarted the project with their own money but have had to rely on other agencies to piece together funding over the past 18 years.

About $55 million has been spent or earmarked so far on the project, most of it in the current construction phase.

The final phase, slated to be completed in 2017, would provide for more efficient onramps and offramps, with signals and turn lanes wide enough for trucks to get into Donna’s more easily.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446,

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