Southbound I-5 road improvements near Lynnwood on way

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Edmonds commuters who find themselves traveling southbound I-5 in Lynnwood can look forward to smoother and safer trips by fall 2011. Crews will build new on- and off-ramps to help eliminate lane-weaving and reduce congestion-related collisions on busy southbound I-5 between I-405 and 196th Street Southwest.

“The new ramps will separate traffic entering the freeway from traffic headed to 196th Street SW and downtown Lynnwood,” said Janice Fahning, project engineer. “If you’re a regular driver through this area, you can look forward to much-improved traffic flow when we finish work next year.”

WSDOT this week awarded the project contract to Northwest Construction, Inc. for $18.7 million. Northwest Construction’s bid was 40 percent below WSDOT’s engineering estimate. The project is funded by the 2005 gas tax package.

Construction will begin this summer, after WSDOT meets with the contractor and they are able to mobilize crews and equipment.

Nearly 100,000 drivers travel this stretch of southbound I-5 each day, where the on-ramps from I-405 and SR 525 converge. The mix of fast I-5 traffic and slow-moving traffic exiting to 196th Street SW leads to congestion and collisions. Rear-end and sideswipe collisions accounted for 75 percent of all collisions on this stretch of southbound I-5 from 2005 to 2009.

The new “braided” ramps will eliminate lane-weaving and smooth the flow of traffic through the area. When the project is completed in late 2011, drivers headed to 196th Street SW from southbound I-5 will be separated from traffic entering southbound I-5 from SR 525 and I-405.

While the end result will be improved traffic flow through Lynnwood, drivers should prepare for some changes and closures during construction. In order to create a safe work space, crews will close the HOV lane on the ramp from SR 525 to southbound I-5. The closure will start in late July or August and will be in place for at least one year while crews build the new ramps.

Crews will also shift the southbound I-5 lanes toward the median and install temporary concrete barrier along the shoulder. Drivers should expect delays during the first few weeks of construction as drivers adjust to the closure and find alternate routes. Visit WSDOT’s website for tips on how to avoid delays during construction: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/196thIC/BraidedRamp/DuringConstruction.

Crews expect to complete the project and open the new ramps to traffic in fall 2011. For project details and graphics, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I5/196thIC/BraidedRamp.