I-5 Mailbag

Every day I get a few e-mails and messages from drivers about the pavement repair work we’re doing on I-5 in Seattle. Tom from Greenlake writes, “My drive in downtown Seattle is finally smooth and quiet.”

Yay! We love hearing from happy drivers. The pavement on I-5 in King County is more than 40 years old. It’s lasted twice as long as engineers thought it would. Cracked and rutted concrete are telltale signs of it being 20 years overdue for a do-over.

Since February we’ve worked nights and weekends replacing hundreds of cracked concrete panels and ground out miles of rutted and bumpy pavement.

Drivers also are noticing that it is taking awhile for crews to finish the work.

Janet from West Seattle says, “Your crews have been out here
night after night. It looks like you started to grind the pavement, but why is it taking so long to finish the work?”

It’s true. If you’ve driven the six mile stretch of I-5 between the University District and Shoreline, you’ve probably noticed some sections of the highway have been ground down, and some sections haven’t. It does look as if we started to grind the pavement but haven’t gotten around to finishing the work.

Truth is we’re right on track to finish the project on time.

It’s like mowing a lawn row after row, only this lawn is 72 feet wide and six miles long – in both directions!

Each 12-foot lane requires crews to make several passes with the 4-foot grinder in order to grind the whole width of the lane.

Grinding the surface of I-5 not only makes for a smoother ride, it improves traction. Grinding also helps improve drainage on the highway so there is less standing water on the surface when it rains.

You can rest assured that we are still on schedule. We promise to finish all of the I-5 pavement repair work by the end of the summer. And trust me: it will be worth the wait.

Want to know more? Check out our common questions site and the I-5 Pavement Repair project page.