One last ‘squeeze’ for I-5 northbound

MARYSVILLE — Prepare yourself for a final squeeze.

For the uninitiated, that would be the “Snohomish County Squeeze.” The construction project to replace aging I-5 expansion joints has caused a series of weekend traffic tie-ups between Everett and Marysville.

State contractors have been at work since March. They narrowed the northbound freeway to two lanes Friday and expect to reopen them for good by Monday morning.

“We are wrapping up the largest expansion joint project we’ve had in Snohomish County,” WSDOT project engineer Mark Sawyer said in a news release. “The Union, Steamboat, and Ebey Slough bridges have brand-new expansion joints, keeping drivers and the bridges safe for decades to come.”

Expansion joints are made of steel bars and rubber seals which allow bridges to flex with changing traffic volumes and weather. The ones being replaced on the Ebey and Steamboat slough bridges are up to 30 years old.

“It should smooth out the road quite a bit,” Sawyer said. “You’ll have a little bit of a bump; that’s better than it was.”

The current project is replacing 41 joints at a cost of $5.3 million. Crews expect to install the last four of those joints this weekend. They’re unable to do the work during standard overnight closures because the new concrete needs 12 hours to cure, Sawyer said.

Along with restricting northbound I-5 traffic, crews also expects to close the onramp to Highway 529 until Monday morning.

The state also warned of significant traffic backups on Highway 9 as well as on city streets in Everett and Marysville.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Resources for drivers

WSDOT mobile app:

WSDOT on Twitter: @wsdot_traffic will provide updates about the project using the hashtag #snocosqueeze.

The What’s Happening Now page chronicles closures and issues affecting travelers:

Commute and travel choices:

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