Saturday, July 12, 2008

Inspections reveal severe damage to I-5 Overpass in Burlington

Contact: Dustin Terpening, WSDOT Communications, 360-661-7903 (Burlington)

I-5 lanes and ramps closed at night through Bellingham next week
Date: July 11, 2008

BELLINGHAM – Crews will close lanes and ramps next week on I-5 in Bellingham to finish sealing new concrete panels and to install guardrail. The closures will be as follows:

Monday, July 14, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. - The left lane of northbound I-5 will be closed between the Lakeway and Sunset exits.

Monday, July 14, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. - The northbound I-5 Lakeway Drive on- and off-ramps will be closed.

Tuesday, July 15 and Wednesday, July 16, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – the northbound I-5 Iowa Street on- and off-ramps will be closed.

Detour signs will direct drivers around the closed ramps. Drivers are encouraged to use local routes if possible.

Bellingham traffic cameras are available at

This work is part of the ongoing I-5 construction that started earlier this year to replace broken concrete panels in Bellingham, smooth rough bridge transitions and pave ramps. More project details can be found at Stay tuned into the closure schedule by subscribing to Whatcom County e-mail updates at

Further inspections reveal severe damage to I-5 overpass in Burlington
Date: Friday, July 11, 2008

BURLINGTON – Further inspections of the damage to the Chuckanut Drive overpass (exit 231) over I-5 in Burlington confirmed engineers’ worst fears. The battered bridge support beams will have to be replaced.

Starting Monday, July 14, crews will work at night to temporarily fix the support beams and get both lanes of Chuckanut Drive open again. Sometime within the next year, WSDOT will have to permanently fix the overpass by replacing the damaged beams. Initial cost estimates to replace the damaged support beams are in the million-plus range.

WSDOT will do everything possible to recoup the costs for repairs from the responsible party.

During the night work, crews will close the right lane of I-5 from 8 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The work should take less than a week to complete. Drivers should expect minor delays. Severe restrictions on the Chuckanut Drive overpass are in place.

Currently, no vehicles weighing more than 20,000 pounds (10 tons) are allowed on the overpass. The westbound lane on the overpass is closed. Only eastbound traffic is allowed across the overpass. Westbound drivers will be detoured one mile north around the closure via Old Highway 99 and Cook Road. Detour signs are in place.

Local drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes. Once the temporary repairs are in place, vehicles over 80,000 pounds (40 tons) will be prohibited.

A tractor-trailer towing an excavator crashed into the overpass Thursday afternoon, severely damaging three of the six support beams, knocking off concrete and breaking 22 steel cables. Each support beam houses 20 steel cables. Despite the excavator hitting the south side of the overpass first, the support beams on the north side of the bridge sustained the most damage.

Crews will tie broken steel cables together and repair the concrete damage in order to open both lanes on the overpass and complete temporary repairs. View, comment or download pictures of the damage at

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