The southbound Stillaguamish River Bridge on I-5 will receive maintenance this summer that will close some lanes and help preserve the bridge structure.
The bridge was originally built in 1933 and became part of I-5 in the ‘60s.
“The Stillaguamish River Bridge is on a list of bridges in the state that are in need of being preserved,” said Jordan Longacre, communications supervisor with the Washington State Department of Transportation.
“We have been working our way through that list for a few years,” and the Stillaguamish River Bridge was one of the next ones up.
The maintenance will include a new painting of the bridge structure.
“It will really help seal the steel structure and protect it from corrosion and wear and tear,” said Longacre.
The paint is necessary for the long-term health of the bridge.
“This is a bridge that is over the water and we already have a fairly wet climate, so it is very susceptible to rust,” said Longacre. “We need a strong coat of paint on it so it doesn’t break down."
The bridge has received a number of layers of paint over the years, however this time requires a completely new coat.
“All that paint is beginning to peel off and there is a lot of portions beginning to rust,” said Longacre. “We’ll have to strip off all of the layers and put a proper coat of paint on it this time."
Construction crews are expected to take measures so that the environmental impacts are minimal.
“We are going to be protecting the environment,” said Longacre.
There will also be some minor maintenance and repairs as part of the project, including replacing some joints and rivets.
Federal funds totaling about $2.6 million are being used to pay for the maintenance project.
Work on the project began on April 12, but traffic is not expected to be affected much until around June.
“From now until about June you’re not going to see much in the way of traffic impacts except for some work on the shoulder,” said Longacre.
However, after that the southbound bridge traffic will be redirected through the northbound bridge, reducing both directions of the highway down to two lanes.
Traffic slowdowns are expected in the area and Longacre recommends planning around those issues.
“Find alternate routes or plan to head out a little earlier at that time,” he said.
The Washington State Department of Transportation hopes to give the bridge proper maintenance throughout the project, he said.
“We’re looking forward to work that will help preserve this bridge,” he said.