Construction Season Underway; WSDOT Says 'Know Before You Go'

More than 100 major construction projects worth more than $1 billion will be under way in the Puget Sound area during the construction season. WSDOT officially kicked off the 2011 construction season in Lynnwood last week at the site of the $33 million I-5 braided-ramp project. It untangles traffic where daily commuters interstate travelers and Alderwood Mall shoppers come together to jockey for space.

“Construction is a year-round job but the most amount of work occurs from April through September” said Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond. “This is good news in that more people are employed. But it also means drivers might encounter delays or detours and they certainly should be extra cautious when they see workers.”

Also over the next several months WSDOT maintenance teams will do striping small paving projects pothole repair litter cleanup tree trimming storm-drain clearing road-sign maintenance and repair and replacement of reflective lane markers.

“With so many more people working along our highways we would ask drivers to be extra vigilant in construction zones so all of our workers can go home safely to their loved ones at the end of their shifts” Hammond said.

Highway construction work is good news for the industry but contractors and their employees should plan ahead to avoid traffic tie-ups and road closures. Hammond said some of the ways to “know before you go” include:

“We are pleased that taxpayers support improving the transportation system throughout our state and the benefits it brings including reduced congestion better travel times improved safety and a stronger economy” Hammond said. “Yet we know getting the jobs done that bring those benefits can cause short-term headaches particularly when everyone is in high gear during the construction season.”

The Washington State Legislature allocated $15 billion for 421 projects in 2003 and 2005 gas-tax packages. To date WSDOT has delivered $10 billion in projects throughout the state.

Here is a look at just some of the work occurring in the Puget Sound area and beyond during this year’s construction season: