Spokane St. Viaduct project – West Seattle Blog… https://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 01:30:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 West Seattle road work: More repairs for Spokane Street Viaduct https://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-road-work-more-repairs-for-spokane-street-viaduct/ https://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-road-work-more-repairs-for-spokane-street-viaduct/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 01:10:28 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=286311 Announced late today by SDOT, more repair work is ahead for the surface of the Spokane Street Viaduct. Next Thursday (September 25th), the inside (left) eastbound lane will be closed 10 am-2 pm to fix “spalls” between the Highway 99 overpass and the 4th Avenue exit.

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City raising speed limit for Spokane Street Viaduct on east end of West Seattle Bridge https://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/city-raising-speed-limit-for-spokane-street-viaduct-on-east-end-of-west-seattle-bridge/ https://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/city-raising-speed-limit-for-spokane-street-viaduct-on-east-end-of-west-seattle-bridge/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:43:47 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=259055

(WSB photo, taken – from the passenger seat – midday Friday)
One year after the city officially marked the end of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, a speed-limit change has just been announced by SDOT:

This weekend the speed limit on the Spokane Street Viaduct is increasing to 40 miles per hour (mph) between I-5 and First Avenue South. While the speed limit was 35 mph based on the structure’s original design, the Spokane Street Viaduct Project widened the roadway, which allows for a 40 mph speed. The project officially concluded last December, but the lower speed limit remained in place while the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) monitored operations. SDOT has concluded the Spokane Street Viaduct is functioning well and that the speed limit can be safely increased.

Last weekend SDOT replaced aging and worn overhead signs on the structure. The new signs are made of a reflective material that works so well the electric lighting associated with overhead signs is not needed. The Washington State Department of Transportation currently uses this material and we are taking this opportunity to review its use in Seattle.

The Spokane Street Viaduct Project doubled the viaduct’s width, and refurbished and seismically reinforced the older portion. The additional width allowed for wider travel lanes, shoulders and deceleration and merge lanes to be installed. The project also added a new eastbound off-ramp at Fourth Avenue S and fully reconstructed the lower S Spokane Street in concrete, including a sidewalk on the south side and multi-use trail on the north side. Finally, artwork was added to enliven the area below the viaduct with color and images that recollect the natural and cultural history of the location.

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Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project ceremony: ‘We’re done!’ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/spokane-street-viaduct-widening-project-ceremony-were-done/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/spokane-street-viaduct-widening-project-ceremony-were-done/#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2012 22:57:12 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=130048

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
After four years of construction, finally a celebration for the completion of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. It was May 2008 when word came that the project would proceed, and we took a closeup look at “how it’ll change your life.” It’s added a 4th Avenue offramp on the eastbound side, consolidated on/offramps on the westbound side, and more travel lanes, among other things, all commemorated with this morning’s gathering beneath the SSV (known not that long ago as The West Seattle Freeway). There were of course speeches, including one from West Seattle restaurateur and Chamber of Commerce board chair Dave Montoure:

During the final phase of the project, he was part of an informal task force set up to avoid community-communication snafus like one that left many surprised by a weekend closure. But that’s all in the past – this morning was a time to celebrate, maybe even sigh in relief. Or at least, take pictures, as Mayor Mike McGinn was seen doing:

A closer look at that cake and the ribboncutting – plus what’s next, ahead:

Along with cake-cutting – note the icing inscription, “We’re Done!” – the event featured ribbon-cutting – requiring one big set of scissors:

Scissors in hand, it was on to the ribbon:

Dignitaries included West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee and spoke about this route’s importance to this side of the bay:

SDOT director Peter Hahn, who took the job after this project was under way, chatted with project manager Stuart Goldsmith, who spent a lot of time briefing community groups in West Seattle over the years:

The event also was meant to offer a “thank you” to West Seattleites for their patience. If you don’t remember all the backstory, this SDOT story recaps some of it.

There may still be some work here and there – for those who have wondered, take note of this footnote on the project’s official city webpage:

(Before the project is officially finished, the City of Seattle will evaluate the performance of the contractor to ensure that the work has been delivered as specified in the contract. As is customary on such major projects, it is likely the contractor will be directed to make adjustments to some of the work they have performed.)

WSB coverage from the past four and a half years is all archived here, in reverse chronological order.

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Dedication next week for artwork under Spokane Street Viaduct https://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/dedication-set-for-artwork-under-spokane-street-viaduct/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/dedication-set-for-artwork-under-spokane-street-viaduct/#comments Thu, 08 Nov 2012 10:13:33 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=129253

If you have driven the newly reopened lower Spokane Street, westbound under the newly widened Spokane Street Viaduct, you have seen the designs painted on the columns – city-commissioned art that’s part of the project. The city has just announced plans for a formal dedication:

After three years of construction, the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project is nearly complete. At a public dedication scheduled for 9 a.m, Friday, Nov. 16, a unique set of artworks will be unveiled, along with new sidewalks and landscaping in the lower roadway reconstruction. Santa Monica, Calif. artist team merge conceptual design’s (Claudia Reisenberger and Franka Diehnelt) artwork, SODO, is a vast visual narrative that catalogues more than 200 years of SoDo’s history. Created in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the artwork consists of stenciled and barcode designs painted on the concrete columns that hold up the existing and new portions of the Spokane Street Viaduct between Sixth Avenue South and East Marginal Way South. Nine different color and image schemes create separate zones that recollect the natural and cultural history of the area, the industries that flourished there, and wildlife that inhabited the site. In total, more than 500 column faces were painted.

As a way to distinguish and identify each theme within the artwork, the artists created their own unique barcodes encrypted with the name of each field (e.g., Another Man’s Treasure) for the project. The striped barcodes on the columns (viewed from westbound South Spokane Street) visually play with the corridor’s perspective beneath the viaduct and line up to create a whole barcode pattern when viewed from specific points along the roadway. The nine themes in SODO include (east to west): Another Man’s Treasure, Forest of Stilts, Duck-Duck-Goose, Heavy Metal, Moved Mountain, Slowheel, Cuts and Hides and Liquid Land.

(The city quotes the artists as saying:) “In the last 200 years SoDo has experienced a dramatic transformation from tidal flats to industrial area to a center of warehousing, packaging and distribution of goods.

“In our artwork we are using the over-arching image of barcodes to “label” the many layers that constitute SoDo’s history. The use of barcodes points to SoDo’s present reality, while the information encoded in the barcodes refers to a much deeper identity hidden beneath the surface: rather than just naming a product, the encoded words evoke stories/history related to the site.

Graphically, the barcodes serve as the medium to weave together the several layers of the site’s identity into one narrative. In addition to the barcodes, each of the stories is represented in an image/product, condensed into a simple icon. These icons are used to create patterns that visually interact with the barcodes. A simple text layer is added to loosely hint at the stories behind the patterns.”

We’re checking with the city to see exactly where along the lower roadway the ceremony will be held, and will add that information here and in our calendar listing when we get it.

ADDED 8:41 AM: The answer – “under the Spokane St Viaduct just east of 1st Ave. S.”

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Update: Last stretch of lower Spokane Street roadway now open https://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/spokane-street-viaduct-widening-project-last-stretch-of-lower-roadway-about-to-open/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/spokane-street-viaduct-widening-project-last-stretch-of-lower-roadway-about-to-open/#comments Fri, 26 Oct 2012 00:46:45 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=127593 5:46 PM: According to the Construction Look Ahead that SDOT updates every Thursday – see it here – westbound lower Spokane Street will be open all the way from 6th Avenue S. to East Marginal Way by 6 am tomorrow. That’s the last major piece of the four-year project to widen the elevated roadway, add an eastbound offramp at 4th Avenue South, and consolidated westbound on/offramps at 1st Avenue, among other components.

9:50 PM UPDATE: Just checked while coming home from an errand downtown – and the entirety of lower westbound Spokane Street is now OPEN. Photo to come. (For a trip down Memory Lane, here’s our first in-depth story before the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project started construction 4+ years ago. There’s also a project timeline at the bottom of the SSVWP city home page.)

10:50 PM NOTE: If you’re wondering about the designs on the columns – it’s art commissioned for the project.

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Spokane Street Viaduct project: Westbound surface road now partly open; speed-limit update https://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/spokane-street-viaduct-project-westbound-surface-road-now-partly-open-speed-limit-update/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/spokane-street-viaduct-project-westbound-surface-road-now-partly-open-speed-limit-update/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2012 22:47:59 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=126811 Two updates this afternoon related to the city’s almost-complete Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project:

WESTBOUND SURFACE SPOKANE STREET PARTLY OPEN: SDOT says that for the first time in three years, westbound S. Spokane St., under the widened SSV, is now open between 4th and 6th Avenues. Project spokesperson Paul Elliott says in an update e-mail, “It is hoped that the remainder of westbound surface S Spokane, the segment from 4th Avenue S to East Marginal Way S, will be reopened to motorists before the end of October.”

SPEED-LIMIT UPDATE: We also have an update from Elliott about the city’s timetable for revisiting the speed limit on the SSV itself, now that work on the bridge deck is done. It came up in the WSB Forums this week; we had checked with SDOT a month ago, at which time Elliott told us the city Traffic Engineer would be taking a look “after giving motorists some time to adjust to the new configuration.” Checking back this week to find out about that timetable, we got this reply:

As to … when the City Traffic Engineer will be evaluating the speed limit on the structure, he expects this to happen in the spring. We need normalized operating speeds along with some collision data (of which we currently have little). The spring timeframe will give us about six months of baseline collision data, with which to better assess the safety impacts of any change in the speed limit.

The project itself has now been under way for about four years (here’s one of our earliest stories, from spring 2008).

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West Seattle traffic: No major closures planned this week https://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/west-seattle-traffic-no-major-closures-planned-this-week/ Mon, 15 Oct 2012 03:24:30 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=126260 Neither the Spokane Street Viaduct nor Highway 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled for any sort of closure in the next week. (We’ll be checking with WSDOT to see if this means they’re done with the work that had been causing the frequent overnight southbound 99 closures, or if this is just a break.) No date yet for the reopening of westbound surface Spokane St. under the SSV, but it’s expected to be soon. And here’s one other surface-street closure, in the Pioneer Square/stadium zone, you might want to know about:

Monday, Oct. 15 – the morning of Friday, Oct. 19 – First Avenue South will be closed between South King Street and Railroad Way South [map] from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. Note: on Wednesday, Oct. 17 the closure start time will be delayed until two hours after the Sounders game at CenturyLink Field.

Yet another reminder if you see this before Monday night – ALL transportation/traffic/transit topics are on the table for the Sustainable West Seattle Community Forum that night (October 15th), 7 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon; WSB sponsor).

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This week’s West Seattle-related traffic alerts: Short list! https://westseattleblog.com/2012/09/this-weeks-west-seattle-related-traffic-alerts-short-list/ Mon, 24 Sep 2012 05:05:43 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=122984 Very short list for this week’s traffic alerts. We’ll group them by projects, instead of days:

SPOKANE STREET VIADUCT: Nothing in the coming week, says SDOT.

ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT/99: Tonight through Thursday night, it’s closed southbound, 9 pm-5 am, between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge, says WSDOT.

P.S. If you drive through SODO, remember that there’s a Seahawks game Monday night and a Huskies game Thursday night, both likely to affect traffic. As noted here on Friday, the West Seattle Water Taxi has late-night runs for both games.

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Spokane Street Viaduct: Speed-limit Q/A; ramp update https://westseattleblog.com/2012/09/spokane-street-viaduct-speed-limit-qa-ramp-update/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/09/spokane-street-viaduct-speed-limit-qa-ramp-update/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 18:51:37 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=122488 Two Spokane Street Viaduct updates this morning. First, as commenter/honorary road correspondent Robert2715 points out, the 1st Avenue South offramp from the eastbound SSV only reopened one lane this morning – but SDOT spokesperson Paul Elliott confirms the other lane is indeed expected to reopen tomorrow.

Second, SDOT answers a question we received via e-mail from Stacy, who wondered, “Do you know if there are plans to raise the speed limit on the Spokane Street Viaduct (i.e., back to 45 mph) now that the construction is complete with the new permanent barrier between eastbound and westbound traffic? That is the speed on the bridge, and it would be great if it were consistent all the way to I-5, too.” SDOT’s Elliott replies:

Now that the work on the bridge deck on the viaduct is largely complete, we are returning to the preconstruction 35 MPH. After giving motorists some time to adjust to the new configuration, the City’s Traffic Engineer will examine the conditions and then determine whether or not this is the proper speed limit.

The SSV Widening Project is still not completely done – the westbound surface S. Spokane Street is one of the last pieces of the puzzle – but is scheduled to wrap up next month.

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Video: New westbound Spokane Street Viaduct ramp is open https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/new-westbound-spokane-street-viaduct-ramp-is-open/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/new-westbound-spokane-street-viaduct-ramp-is-open/#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2012 13:22:56 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=120426

Just back from SODO, where we verified that the new ramp to/from the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct is indeed open. For the first time in more than two years, you can get onto the westbound West Seattle Bridge without taking I-5 or Highway 99. The dash-cam view right at 6 am:

The old westbound onramp at 1st/Spokane closed in May 2010 and was demolished shortly thereafter as part of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project; the old westbound onramp at 4th/Spokane was closed in 1993, but not torn down till this project (we photographed the then-15-year-old sign for our first in-depth look at the then-upcoming SSVWP in May 2008).

Note that this opening does NOT mark the end of the project – westbound surface Spokane Street won’t open for another month or so, SDOT says, and that’s also when they expect to reopen the eastbound 1st Avenue S. offramp, which is being repaired/resurfaced.

ADDED 3:14 PM: Thanks to KING 5 for sharing this SkyKING image of the new ramp:

The image looks toward the northeast – that’s the offramp on top, the onramp “below” it.

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Countdown to new Spokane St. Viaduct ramp: How to get onto it https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/countdown-to-new-spokane-st-viaduct-ramp-how-to-get-onto-it/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/countdown-to-new-spokane-st-viaduct-ramp-how-to-get-onto-it/#comments Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:51:19 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=120194

By this time Friday morning, as SDOT announced last week, the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct‘s new 1st Avenue South on-/offramp will be open. Since it is a two-way ramp, you’ll drive southbound to get onto it, rather than westbound. And that led commenter “TK” to ask:

What is the recommended route for westbound traffic coming from the Georgetown/4th Ave S (Costco)/Spokane St. area going back to West Seattle via the 1st Ave onramp?

Once Spokane St is reopened, how do we access the onramp? Turn north on 1st Ave & pull a U-turn? (will SDOT put up signs allowing this like some places in Bellevue?) Or continue on 4th north to the old potholed non-arterial Holgate just to get south again?

There doesn’t seem to be any reasonable solution that comes to mind, and there is a lot of traffic which will have to deal with this daily.

As promised in the comment exchange, we took the question to SDOT. Ahead, the answer from project spokesperson Paul Elliott:

For the motorist heading to West Seattle from Georgetown or Costco, the easiest routing would be to head north on Fourth, turn left onto Lander (which has the greatest capacity), and then left again onto southbound First and up onto the ramp. (Some motorists may wish to take the left turn at Horton, which is closer.)

The routing is a bit more problematic for motorists heading north on First, but who wish to turn around to access the on-ramp. U-turns are legal on First except at intersections where they are expressly prohibited. At S Horton all left turns – which includes U-turns – from both the ramp that touches down there, or from the adjacent northbound thru lanes of First, will be prohibited due to safety and traffic concerns. However, U-turns are currently permitted at S Hanford St, although heavy southbound traffic volumes (particularly during the afternoon peak) could make this a challenging maneuver. Naturally, SDOT will be monitoring the situation and assessing what options might exist.

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Update: Opening time for new 1st Avenue S. ramp https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/update-opening-time-for-new-1st-avenue-s-ramp/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/update-opening-time-for-new-1st-avenue-s-ramp/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 21:52:39 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=119629 When SDOT announced late Thursday that the long-awaited new 1st Avenue South onramp/offramp from the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct would open next Friday (WSB coverage here), they hadn’t set a time yet – but now they have. Just heard from project spokesperson Paul Elliott that the ramp will be open by 6 am Friday (August 31st).

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Spokane St. Viaduct’s westbound 1st Avenue South on/offramp opens August 31 https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/spokane-st-viaducts-westbound-1st-avenue-south-onofframp-opens-august-31/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/spokane-st-viaducts-westbound-1st-avenue-south-onofframp-opens-august-31/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 00:02:26 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=119523

(SDOT photo of the nearly complete offramp side of the new ramp, taken earlier this month)
Just announced by SDOT:

With the project approximately 95 percent finished, major elements of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project are nearing completion.  The combination westbound on/off ramp at First Avenue S and S Spokane Street will open to motorists next Friday morning, August 31. The on-ramp provides the only westbound access to the viaduct and the West Seattle Bridge from SODO, and its opening will eliminate the need for SODO motorists to take the detour across the low level swing bridge. 
The old westbound off-ramp at Fourth Avenue S and on-ramp at First Avenue S had to be closed and demolished to make room for the widened viaduct structure. 
Construction activity on the upper viaduct deck is also nearing completion, with the permanent barrier between east and westbound traffic installed.  Westbound motorists are now traveling in the final lane configurations, and the eastbound on-ramp from Harbor Island has reopened.
The most significant and visible work yet to be completed is the repaving of the eastbound off-ramp at First Avenue and the intersection with S Spokane Street at the bottom of that ramp.  As such, the off-ramp remains closed until late September.   North/south traffic on First Avenue in the construction area has been reduced to one lane in each direction, while the northbound lanes will be fully closed for three nights during the last week of August.

The old 1st Avenue South onramp closed for demolition in May 2010. Unlike that ramp, you won’t take 1st all the way to Spokane to get onto the bridge; the entrance to the new ramp is actually on 1st, more than a block north of Spokane.

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: For those who asked about buses – yes, they will use this ramp too. The reply from Jeff Switzer at King County DOT:

This construction milestone will be good news for bus riders going to West Seattle. Starting Aug. 31, bus riders will have a faster and more reliable trip using the new First Avenue South ramp to the West Seattle Bridge, and buses will be less likely to face delays due to trains or when the lower Spokane Street bridge needs to open for marine traffic.

Metro buses have traveled a revised route since May 17, 2010, including Routes 21, 22, 35, 56, 57, 85, 116, 118 & 119 traveling East Marginal way to the lower level Spokane Street bridge to get to West Seattle. Opening the new First Avenue South/South Spokane Street on ramp will decrease travel times on these routes. We’re coordinating with the city so that we can revise our bus routes accordingly as soon as the ramp is officially open.

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West Seattle traffic alert: NO Spokane St. Viaduct closure tonight https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/west-seattle-traffic-alert-update-no-spokane-st-viaduct-closure-tonight/ Wed, 15 Aug 2012 21:34:34 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=118742 Just in from SDOT:

The previously scheduled closure for tonight of the eastbound lanes of the Spokane Street Viaduct has been canceled; however, the same eastbound lanes from SR 99 to I-5 will be closed tomorrow night, Thursday, August 16, as scheduled.

The Thursday night closure will begin at 10 p.m. and finish at 5 a.m. on Friday morning. During the closure, all eastbound traffic on the West Seattle Bridge will be detoured to northbound SR99. At the end of this closure on Friday morning, the eastbound Harbor Island on-ramp to the Spokane Street Viaduct will be reopened to traffic.

We are updating today’s preview and our ongoing day-by-day closure list to reflect tonight’s cancellation.

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Spokane St. Viaduct: Why some of its new surface is getting cut up https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/spokane-st-viaduct-why-some-of-its-new-surface-is-getting-cut-up/ https://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/spokane-st-viaduct-why-some-of-its-new-surface-is-getting-cut-up/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 10:49:49 +0000 https://westseattleblog.com/?p=118679

(SDOT photos, courtesy Darin Stephens)
Some driving the Spokane Street Viaduct in recent days have asked why squares are being cut from some of its newly paved surface. The questions started in the comment section following our Friday update on the close-to-completion project.

As promised, we followed up with SDOT. Project spokesperson Paul Elliott talked with project manager Stuart Goldsmith and replies that the problem is delamination – some of the new concrete didn’t bond with the old concrete: “Repairing and resurfacing the old bridge deck required a hydro-demolition process to clean and roughen the old deck to ensure a good bond when the new thin lift micro silica overlay was then applied. If there is any oil or other dirt remaining, we can end up with delamination/an inadequate bonding.” (The hydro-demolition process was discussed in our story about a work-zone tour two months ago.)

The delaminated spots were discovered with a low-tech type of testing, which you can see in WSB coverage of the Fauntleroy Expressway seismic-retrofit work back in January – “the best way to determine whether or not the bond is solid is to drag metal chains across the top and listen for problem areas,” as Elliott explains it. The problem spots (we’re checking back to ask how many) were cut out for repairs:

He says the work will not set the schedule back further. Meantime, other work that’s going on includes pouring of the permanent concrete barrier between westbound and eastbound – the green material is the rebar:

And here’s a section after the pour:

Milestones ahead for the project: Friday morning, as noted in our day-by-day closure list, the Harbor Island onramp to the eastbound SSV reopens after its long closure; starting next Monday (August 20th) the 1st Avenue South offramp from the eastbound SSV closes for about 5 weeks, during which time it’ll be repaved.

ADDED 6:18 PM: SDOT’s reply to our followup questions, which included: How much of the resurfaced bridge deck has the delamination problem? Why did it happen? What about concerns of an uneven surface post-repairs?

The percentage of the new roadway requiring repair due to delamination was less than 5% of the total resurfaced area and was well within expectations given the condition and age of the old deck. Delamination repair was anticipated as part of the deck refurbishing process, which is why we test it, and does not delay the project.

Drivers on the roadway, to include motorcycle riders, should not be able to detect the cuts once they are filled with concrete. We will continue to review the contractor’s work to ensure the roadway meets the required specifications prior to the city accepting the work as complete.

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