Orange traffic barrels Tuesday direct drivers away from a section of Interstate 5 that lifted last week causing major traffic backups along the highway in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Orange traffic barrels Tuesday direct drivers away from a section of Interstate 5 that lifted last week causing major traffic backups along the highway in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

After I-5 backups last week, WSDOT plans weekend work in Everett

Concrete panel replacement is scheduled to resume this weekend, which means lane reductions and closures.

EVERETT — With hourslong delays fresh in commuters’ minds from last week’s emergency road work on I-5 in Everett, more holdups are ahead this weekend.

Crews contracted by the Washington State Department of Transportation are scheduled this weekend to resume concrete panel replacement that started last fall. Only one lane of northbound I-5 will be open between 10 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday.

Work to stabilize some of the panels between Pacific Avenue and Marine View Drive, with two right lanes closing, is scheduled between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After noon last week Thursday, a panel in the center lane of northbound I-5 lifted almost 3 inches near the Marine View Drive exit. Maintenance crews closed two of the three lanes, removed the panel and replaced it with asphalt, which needed hours to cure before all lanes reopened just after 7 p.m.

Crews had cut that pavement panel ahead of replacing it late last year, but winter weather kept them from that last step, WSDOT spokesperson Kurt Batdorf said. Without the structural integrity, it came up, he said.

“It was kind of an oversight on our part for not catching that,” Batdorf said. ”There wasn’t anything holding the panel in anymore.”

The squeeze pushed back traffic and extended northbound commutes through the afternoon and evening. About 173,000 vehicles use I-5 through Everett, according to state data.

As northbound I-5 backed up, drivers bolted east and west to find other northbound routes such as Broadway and Highway 529, inundating Everett’s streets. Corey Hert, Everett’s traffic engineer, called it “unrecoverable congestion.”

“There was no magic button you could push to get that much traffic on alternate routes,” he said. “No amount of signal timing is going to overcome saturation like that.”

Broadway and Evergreen Way, Everett’s primary north-south routes, already were set to their maximum coordinated timing, he said. Hert had not reviewed data collected at some traffic signals and did not have traffic counts for that day yet.

“I just know they had two lanes of I-5 closed that are very busy in the evening peak, and a good percentage of that traffic came onto Broadway into Everett,” Hert said.

A fellow city employee noticed traffic backing up around noon and called him. Hert went to the city’s traffic management center to monitor video and real-time incident data, and called WSDOT staff, he said.

Hert didn’t recommend the city publish an official detour after watching backups grow on Colby Avenue, East Marine View Drive, Evergreen Way and more city streets.

The city’s traffic engineer 5:30 p.m. bus ride home, normally an hour, took 2 hours and 10 minutes.

“There are few routes that go unexplored by traffic,” Hert said.

Last fall, crews replaced 120 damaged panels between Highway 526 and Everett Avenue. Another 40 are set to be replaced or repaired this weekend, WSDOT staff said in a news release Tuesday.

That work was put on hiatus for winter until the panel problem last week pushed them to seek its completion sooner.

“If you can avoid going through I-5 (in Everett) this weekend, we encourage that,” Batdorf said.

More overnight and weekend lane closures are ahead this spring for crews to replace bridge expansion joints over Hewitt Avenue, Smith Avenue, Pacific Avenue and U.S. 2.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Everett
Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Susanna Johnson speaks during an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sheriff: New police pursuit policy under review amid state rollback

New state standards once again allow police to pursue a suspect without probable cause for a crime — and give departments discretion to adjust policy.

Snohomish County Health Department Director Dennis Worsham on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Long after AIDS crisis peak, LGBTQ+ health care still limited in Everett

A reopened free STI clinic signals some progress. But securing inclusive health services in Snohomish County is an uphill battle, local experts say.

Crave Spokane Valley 2023 (Courtesy of CraveNW Media Relations)
Sold out Spokane food festival coming to Lynnwood

The event Friday night at the Lynnwood Event Center will feature “foods from around the world.” The goal is to make it annual.

Bruce Guthrie outside the Frances Anderson Center, a public park owned by the city of Edmonds. Guthrie was arrested by arrested by Edmonds Police during the Edmonds Arts Festival for soliciting signatures on a petition to get Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver on Washington’s ballot this year. (Photo provided by Bruce Guthrie)
Edmonds state House candidate arrested collecting petition signatures

Bruce Guthrie believes the city violated his First Amendment rights by arresting him at an event in a public park, making him a “political prisoner.”

Amazon delivery vans at a shipping facility in Chatsworth, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2022. The company has big plans to turn its delivery fleet green, but very few of the vehicles are made right now. (Roger Kisby/The New York Times)
To help fund roads, Washington lawmakers eye fee on deliveries

New revenue options are needed as gas tax collections lag behind rising maintenance costs, but “this is not a done deal.”

Everett Herald staff gather and talk in the newsroom after layoff announcements on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘This breaks my heart’: Roughly half of Everett Herald news staff laid off

A dozen journalists learned their jobs were eliminated Wednesday, in a move new owners Carpenter Media Group said was meant to ensure long-term success of the newspaper.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.