Truckers brace for I-5 closure headaches

sportsou

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The 19 days of Interstate 5 construction set to begin Friday night will mean havoc for many Seattle drivers, among them the truckers who rely extensively on that highway as a main artery.

Trucking companies that haven't carefully considered their options and alternatives "will basically reap the reward of what (they) didn't do," said Pat Binion, co-chairman of the Seattle Department of Transportation's Freight Mobility Advisory Committee.

"It's gonna be ugly," predicted Rick Goetz, vice president of Seattle's Nelson Trucking Co.

At 10 p.m. Friday, crews from the state Department of Transportation will begin repairing northbound I-5, undertaking what the city's Transportation Department on its Web site calls "some of the most extensive lane and ramp closures Seattle drivers have ever seen."

Technically, crews will be replacing expansion joints and resurfacing northbound lanes between South Spokane Street and Interstate 90. In practical terms, they'll be creating one heck of a mess.

More drivers use the affected portion of I-5 than nearly any other section: an average of about 130,000 northbound vehicles daily.

Of those, about 1,000 are semitrailers and 3,700 are box trucks, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The trucking companies agreed that alternatives to I-5 likely will clog quickly, particularly on crucial routes to Harbor Island, the Port of Seattle's terminal facilities, Interstate 405, the I-90 bridge, state Route 99 and surface streets adjacent to I-5.

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