Traffic, seen here during Jan. 4, 2016 on northbound Interstate 5 just north of the Highway 526 interchange, is likely to back up during work this weekend that requires reducing it to at most two lanes. Dan Bates / Herald file)

Traffic, seen here during Jan. 4, 2016 on northbound Interstate 5 just north of the Highway 526 interchange, is likely to back up during work this weekend that requires reducing it to at most two lanes. Dan Bates / Herald file)

I-5 lane reductions through Everett set for weekends this month

Crews are set to replace dozens of decades-old concrete panels between Highway 526 and Everett Avenue.

Pack your patience, plan another way or push out travel north through Everett.

Revive I-5 is coming to Everett soon.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is set to close northbound lanes on I-5 the next three weekends, if weather allows. At most only two lanes will be open, and the freeway will be down to just one lane between midnight and 4:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Crews with Acme Concrete Paving, the contractor on the $7.9 million project, are set to replace dozens of concrete panels.

“We need weekends to complete a lot of this work because we have several sections of concrete panels that need replacing, and the concrete needs time to cure,” WSDOT Project Engineer Shawn Wendt said in a news release.

The work will happen on about 3 miles from just north of the Highway 526 interchange to Everett Avenue.

The concrete panels set to be replaced are more than 50 years old. Original designs anticipated they would last about 25 years, WSDOT spokesman Tom Pearce wrote in an email.

“When this work is finished people should have a smoother ride,” Pearce wrote. “After 50 years, there are ruts from the tens of thousands of vehicles that use the freeway every day.”

WSDOT inspects state highways every two years. Not every panel is being replaced.

Acme’s crews also are going to get rid of ruts in the original panels that will remain.

There isn’t a detour during the lane reductions, so people should plan to go merge and wait on I-5 instead of winding through city streets.

Drivers could take Highway 9 through Lake Stevens and Snohomish to skirt potential backups through Everett. WSDOT recommends adding travel time, delaying some trips and taking public transit.

But the lane closures could push another 1,000 trips into Everett during the peak hours, traffic engineer Corey Hert said during the Sept. 15 Everett Transportation Advisory Committee meeting.

“If you’ve driven through Everett on a given Saturday northbound, it’s already full,” he said.

Everett anticipates more traffic on northbound Broadway during the weekend work this month. The city plans to coordinate Broadway’s signals with a 2-minute, 10-second interval, similar to what it has during the weekday afternoon peak now, starting at 10 a.m.

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep Broadway moving,” Hert said.

City workers also are going to set out some “local traffic only” signs west of Broadway, he said. Hert and a sign technician will be available to respond to traffic and adjust signals and signs at least this weekend.

The first closure is set for 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. The off-ramp to 41st Street and Broadway will be closed, but the HOV off-ramp to Broadway will be open to everyone this weekend, Pearce wrote.

If the weather allows, lane closures could follow on the remaining weekends.

Work to replace four expansion joints north of 41st Street is expected to resume in spring.

Have a question? Call 425-339-3037 or email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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