Revive I-5 project turns freeway into parking lot

SEATTLE — Saturday was a rough day on the roads in Seattle, and the “Revive I-5″ project resulted in plenty of traffic turmoil over the weekend.

The theme was “hurry up and wait” on Interstate 5 through downtown Seattle, because of work being done in the southbound lanes between the I-90 interchange and the Spokane Street exit.

That was enough to create gridlock.

“Terrible, horrible, bumper-to-bumper,” said Kevin Gray of Seattle. “Oh, my goodness, couldn’t get anywhere.”

Gray described the massive backup on I-5 for anyone driving south after being stuck in traffic at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Had to sit through it, about 30 to 40 minutes until I could get to an exit,” Gray recalled.

He and the other drivers caught in the mess can look to the revival of the state DOT’s Revive I-5 project.

This historically rainy spring washed out the project twice before, but the delay is now beginning to impact the project timeline.

“We’re coming under the gun with so much rain this spring and summer,” said DOT spokesperson Amy Moreno.

She says the work resumed Friday night.

“This particular project, we are replacing those expansion joints,” Moreno said, “which a lot of people have been very frustrated by those bumps.”

In order to do the work in the rain, the contractor crafted a 10-by-30-foot tent to keep the area dry. The scaffolding appeared at the ready before the rain moved in.

None of it is a surprise to construction worker McClay Morgan, who says he plans to avoid I-5 all day.

“Yes, I understand rain’s a factor whenever you’re doing concrete work or asphalt,” said Morgan.

But can he get around?

“Yes,” he said. “I’ll find a way.”

Because of the tents and sandbags and blowers the contractor is bringing in, they think they can get their work done.

The work is expected to continue for most weekends this summer.