Drivers in south Thurston County should expect delays this summer while construction crews repave about 6 miles of Old Highway 99.
The goal is to create a smoother ride for the nearly 10,000 vehicles that use the pothole-ridden road each day between Tenino and the Lewis County line.
Work began Tuesday on the stretch between the Tenino city limits and Violet Prairie Road. Construction will continue only during daytime hours — starting around 7 a.m. Monday through Friday — and will last until mid-August at the latest.
Crews will target three different segments of Old Highway 99, and the project will require closing parts of the road down to one lane of traffic.
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Drivers are advised to bypass the construction by taking alternate routes including Interstate 5 and Tilley Road. So far, traffic delays have been averaging between 10 and 20 minutes depending on peak commuting times, said Steve Bricker, associate civil engineer for Thurston County Public Works.
Once the paving is finished, crews will add new traffic markings and striping. All construction is weather-dependent.
“It’s been in rough shape for the past three years,” Bricker said of Old Highway 99, which has the highest traffic count among roads in that part of the county. “This is strictly maintaining what’s out there and give a smoother-riding road.”
For the Old Highway 99 Paving Project, Thurston County commissioners approved a contract for about $2.1 million with Lakeside Industries Inc. of Centralia. The engineer’s estimate for the project was about $2.76 million, according to the county.
The public is encouraged to check the Thurston County Public Works Department’s Twitter feed at @thurston_pw for updated information on construction and traffic delays. For more detailed maps on alternate routes, visit co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/Projects/97022.aspx