I-5 work will add to Everett traffic woes in summer

EVERETT — The 102-year-old Broadway Bridge is expected to be closed next month for a year-long replacement project. The city of Everett already has marked out a detour route to try and keep the traffic moving.

But drivers in and around Everett are going to need to get creative, because another project on the horizon may just add to regional traffic woes.

The state Department of Transportation is planning to replace the bridge expansion joints on I-5 over the Ebey, Union and Steamboat sloughs, between downtown Everett and Marysville.

That project will start in late summer or early fall, department spokeswoman Kris Olsen said.

The joints, which allow the bridge to expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and traffic volume, are 20-30 years old and are at the end of their lifespans, Olsen said.

“They are cracking, the seals are breaking, the concrete around them is chipping away,” she said.

The I-5 project is still in its design phase and hasn’t been put out to bid yet, so the schedule for work is still uncertain. The project is projected to cost $6.75 million, most of which has already been obtained from federal highway funds, Olsen said.

The transportation department is planning to restrict much of the work on I-5 to overnight and weekend shifts in order to lessen the effect on traffic, Olsen said.

She said the transportation department’s engineers have been meeting with staff from Snohomish County, Everett, Marysville, Arlington and the Tulalip Tribes to keep everyone informed as the project comes together.

“I think it’s very unlikely that we’d completely close I-5,” she said. “There’s always going to be some impact, so we always try to advise drivers to plan ahead.”

The advance notice and the plan for weekend work will reduce the effect on commuters, even those passing through downtown Everett while the Broadway Bridge is out, city communications director Meghan Pembroke said.

“We don’t think it will have a major impact on the Broadway Bridge project,” she said.

The tentative start date for the Broadway Bridge closure is Feb. 2, but that date might shift because doing the final striping work on the detour route depends on dry weather, Pembroke said.

The Broadway Bridge is expected to be closed for a year, with traffic redirected onto parallel streets for the duration.

Northbound traffic will be rerouted a mile out of the way, heading on to Hewitt Avenue, then to Cedar Street, and then west on Everett Avenue back to Broadway.

Southbound traffic will take a shorter detour turning east onto California Avenue, then south on Virginia Street, then west onto Hewitt back to Broadway.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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