Expect significant delays with traffic reduced to two lanes around the clock
WOODLAND – Travelers heading northbound on Interstate 5 in Clark County should prepare for an extended traffic shift, extremely long backups and significant delays.
On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor, M.J. Hughes Construction, Inc., will begin work to repair the northbound I-5 North Fork Lewis River Bridge, just south of Woodland at the Clark and Cowlitz county line.
What can travelers expect
- Tuesday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 5: Nighttime single and double lane closures.
- Monday, Aug. 7, and continuing for up to two months: Around-the-clock temporary traffic shift consisting of two narrow lanes of travel and smaller shoulders with reduced speed limits leading into and through the work zone.
During the traffic shift, half of the bridge deck will be worked on at a time. This configuration creates a safe work zone for contractor crews and enables them to work more efficiently.
“We understand reducing three travel lanes down to two narrow lanes will cause substantial backups and significantly increase travel times,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Susan Fell. “However, this construction staging approach prioritizes safety, efficiency and prompt execution of the work. Given the deteriorating condition of this bridge deck and its importance as a crucial west coast connection on I-5, this project is vital to enhance structural integrity, maintain smooth travel for commuters and goods, and when complete, will minimize the need for emergency bridge closures. To avoid significant delays, we strongly urge travelers to plan ahead!”
Delays and backups will vary depending on the time and day of the week. Friday evenings will likely have the most significant delays, exceeding 50 minutes and causing backups of over 7 miles or more. People should consider rescheduling non-essential trips and avoid peak travel times.
Smart work zone system
Contractor crews will use a temporary smart work zone system and zipper merging throughout the work zone to improve safety and traffic flow. The project’s webpage has more information on both, as well as travel delay charts in the “Maps and Drawings” tab to assist in trip planning.
About the project
Construction on the bridge includes repairing the deck, applying a polyester concrete overlay, modifying expansion joints, and installing new bridge joint seals. Once complete, travelers will experience a smoother, safer driving surface and the life of the bridge deck will be extended for many years to come. Additionally, the current weight restriction will be lifted, and freight truck drivers will no longer be required to move to the center lane when crossing the bridge.
I-5 is the main north-south highway connection along the West Coast. This $17.4 million dollar project will keep travelers, goods and services moving through Washington state. Work to improve the bridge deck along the southbound span of the North Fork Lewis River Bridge is also part of this project and is scheduled to begin in summer 2024. Construction dates will be announced next year. The entire project is scheduled for completion by fall of 2024.
For the most up-to-date construction information on this project and others, travelers can visit the WSDOT real-time travel map website, sign up for county-specific email updates, upload the WSDOT mobile app, or follow us on Twitter.
- Tunnel model for Interstate crossing exposes more IBR flawsRetired engineers Wallis and Rowe challenge the $7.5-billion Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) proposal, presenting an immersed tube tunnel model that offers superior connectivity and safety, contradicting the IBR team’s claims at a recent open house in Vancouver.
- Amtrak Cascades adds two more daily round trips starting Dec. 11Just in time for the holidays, WSDOT and ODOT are starting two additional Amtrak Cascades daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland.
- Opinion: TriMet in the 21st CenturyRandal O’Toole provides an executive summary of a report that indicates TriMet and the region should immediately cease all planning for infrastructure-heavy transit projects, including light rail.
- Opinion: TriMet’s existential crisisTriMet’s share of all regional trips today is about 4 percent, which means it’s irrelevant to most regional travelers.
- Washington truckers say state should put the brakes on EV transitionTrucking industry advocates say state officials need to pump the brakes on EV transition plans due to what they argue amounts to a logistical and practical nightmare.