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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: WSDOT drilling crews begin testing soil on SR 520 corridor on Monday

10/31/2008  2:20:00 PM
Suanne Pelley, 206-770-3578 Victoria Tobin, 206-464-1184
Sue Romero  (206) 684-8548

WSDOT drilling crews begin testing soil on SR 520 corridor on Monday

Work sets stage to begin Eastside construction of new SR 520 in 2010

(SEATTLE)--On Monday, Nov. 3, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will begin the second stage of a geotechnical drilling program to test soil conditions for the design of the new SR 520 corridor. There will be both daytime and nighttime drilling work depending on the location. Residents and travelers are likely to see drill rigs in the SR 520 corridor through March 2009.

"We test soil conditions to determine the location and design of structures such as bridges, retaining walls, overpasses, and drainage systems," said SR 520 Corridor Program Director Julie Meredith. "It's a critical engineering step that helps advance final design work in preparation for Eastside roadway construction in mid-2010."

To help keep traffic moving during the day, crews will work mostly at night between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. the following morning between Sunday and Thursday evenings. Starting Nov. 3, crews will begin nighttime drilling along ramps near the interchange at SR 520 and 108th Avenue NE with a truck-mounted drill rig. The ramps will remain open during the work.

In future weeks there will also be some nighttime lane closures. Crews will keep ramps and at least one lane in each direction open at all times. Nighttime drivers may experience traffic delays and neighbors in close proximity to the drilling may hear construction equipment and a hammering sound during soil sampling.

Updated information about the drilling schedule or lane closures will be posted on the project Web site ( ) as it becomes available.

Built in the 1960s without the benefit of today's design standards, the Evergreen Point floating bridge is vulnerable to earthquakes and windstorms and needs to be replaced. The new SR 520, with two general-purpose and one HOV lane in each direction, will improve driver safety and improve travel-times by providing a new lane for transit and high occupancy vehicles. Eastside construction is scheduled to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2013. The new four-lane floating bridge is scheduled to open to drivers in 2014, with the full six-lane corridor open in 2016.

Drivers can now get real time traffic and weather information by dialing 5-1-1 from most phones. This new traveler information system builds upon the highly successful Washington State Highway hotline that managed 4.6 million calls each year. Callers can also use 5-1-1 to get statewide construction, mountain pass condition, and state ferry system information, as well as toll free numbers for passenger rail and airlines. TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388