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Highway closures: Short-term pain for long-term gain

The Mirror

State Department of Transportation officials say the rough ride on the northbound Interstate 5 bridge over Military Road in Federal Way will soon be just a memory –– as will the associated closures of freeway lanes for five nights beginning tomorrow.

The closures aren’t the only ones affecting Federal Way traffic this weekend. Part of State Route 161 (Enchanted Parkway) will be closed by DOE to accommodate work on widening it.

On I-5, crews will repave the Military Road bridge next week. As a result, three lanes of northbound I-5 near Military Road South will be closed Sunday through Thursday nights.

The first will close at 6 p.m., with all three shut down by 11. They’re all scheduled to reopen by 5 a.m. the following mornings, a DOT spokesman said.

At the end of August, crews removed the top asphalt layer of the bridge to make repairs to the deck underneath. Drivers have been experiencing bumps at the ends of the bridge and a rough driving surface. Crews installedtemporary asphalt wedges at the ends of the bridge to minimize the bumps and will repave the wedges tto make the ride smoother, the spokesman said.

Last week, crews filled cracks and fixed damage that has occurred to the bridge over the 46 years since it was built. The repairs will extend the life of the bridge, officials said.

Meanwhile, DOT will close 28th Avenue South on the east side of SR-161/Enchanted Parkway this weekend for work on that part of the intersection. The closure is scheduled from 6 a.m. today to 2 a.m. tomorrow.

All lanes of SR-161 will remain open, according to officials.

A signed detour route will divert drivers around the closure by using South 360th Street and Military Road South. Flaggers and electronic message signs will help direct traffic, officials said. Local residents will have access to and from their homes.

During the closure, crews will rebuild the section of 28th Avenue that intersects with the east side of SR-161. Crews must lower 28th’s roadway to the height of the widened section of SR-161.

When the $29.6 million widening project is finished, SR-161 will have four lanes between Milton Road South and Jovita Boulevard, the latter in Milton. Two-way left-turn lanes will be included, along with sidewalks and bike lanes between Milton Way and Military Road. North of Military, eight-foot-wide shoulders for pedestrians and bicyclists and an eight-foot-wide separating northbound and southbound vehicle traffic will be built.

More information is available on-line at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR161/Jovita_S360th_Widen.

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