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WSDOT Successfully Demolishes Half of Arlington's Smokey Point Bridge

Date:  Monday, May 02, 2005

Contact: Amir Ahmadi, Project Engineer,  (425) 225-8700 (Everett)
Michell Mouton, Public Information Officer,  (206) 440-4614 (Seattle)

Second Half Slated for Demolition Next Weekend

SEATTLE -  The overnight demolition of Arlington’s Smokey Point bridge (172nd Street) over Interstate 5 went exactly as planned. As of Sunday morning, May 1, the east half of the old two-lane bridge on State Route 531 is gone. By next Sunday, the west half of the bridge will be gone as well.

The old bridge will be replaced by a new six-lane bridge with pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes. On Friday, April 29, drivers started using the north half of that newly constructed bridge. The south half remains under construction. It is scheduled to open in June 2006.

“We had to build part of the new bridge before we took down the old one. There was no way we could leave drivers without access,” said Amir Ahmadi, WSDOT Project Engineer. “This is a very busy corridor.”

Overnight demolition of the east half of the bridge was completed in textbook fashion. With well-rehearsed precision, contractors working for the Washington State Department of Transportation closed all northbound lanes of I-5 at 11 p.m. Crews then moved in to spread one foot of sand across all lanes. The sand served to buffer the noise and soften the blows of concrete chunks as they hit the freeway. Workers used backhoes, concrete saws and jackhammers to demolish the bridge. All major work was completed by 5 a.m. giving crews two hours to clear the road of sand and debris. All lanes were expected to be back open by 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

“We had to be very careful during the demolition because the new bridge is right next to the old one,” Ahmadi said of the demolition. “We also had to keep traffic moving north on I-5. We were fortunate because the detour was short and easy to follow - off the off-ramp and back on the on-ramp.”

Drivers will see more work in the next 10 days in this area. Tonight through Thursday, May 5, crews will close all northbound lanes of I-5 between midnight and 5 a.m. to clear remaining parts of the structure. Drivers may also see occasional single lane closures during the day.  Next Saturday night, WSDOT crews will close all southbound lanes of I-5 to take down the west half of the bridge.

This work is part of a larger project to improve traffic flow on this busy corridor where SR 531 meets I-5. For more information on this $9.14 million project go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr531/smokeypt


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