Help a highway out, plan ahead: a message from I-5 Seattle

 By guest blogger Broch Bender

Greetings drivers!

It’s your friend I-5 here with some important medical news to share with you.

You see, I recently had a checkup and it looks like 50 years of constant wear and tear on my highway expansion joints has caught up with me again. Yes, the prognosis is in; time for another regimen of expansion joint replacement surgeries through downtown Seattle.

Staring Friday night, WSDOT will call in the specialists to perform triage surgery on 26 of my aching, worn out joints. The first round of treatment starts this weekend, which requires more than half of my northbound lanes to be laid up through downtown Seattle until 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The doc’s instructions call for nine weekends of lane closures between I-90 and the Washington State Convention Center to replace all 26 joints.

I realize these procedures could be painful for drivers, but ultimately the prescription delivers some relief too. You see, broken joints are not only hazardous to my health; they also put your car at risk for possible damage and can quickly choke your commute.

see caption
On Dec. 16, 2013, emergency expansion joint repairs caused
traffic to back up for two miles on southbound I-5 near
Spring Street. Ripping out and replacing expansion joints
puts the kibosh on emergency procedures like this one.

Here’s how you can help an old highway get some relief this weekend:
  • Plan ahead by taking an alternate route. If you can bypass Seattle altogether, I-405 is a great way to get around the slowdowns heading into downtown.  If not then good old Highway 99 will get you there.
  • Before you leave, check the WSDOT Seattle Area traffic map. If you see red or black near I-90  that means it could take a while to squeeze through the construction closures.
see caption
Highway medics in action, replacing an expansion
joint on northbound I-5 near Corson, April 2013.
With your help, we’ll get through these nine weekends of joint replacement treatments together.

No need to send cards or honk your horn in support while driving through my operating room. The best way to support me on my road to recovery is to carpool, plan ahead for traffic delays and, if you can swing it, take those alternate routes.

I’ll do my best to be a good patient and recover just as fast as I can.


I-5 shield

Interstate 5, downtown Seattle