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Get ready for big traffic problems on I-5 northbound

Expect backups over the next five weekends as crews repave a stretch of northbound Interstate 5 through SeaTac and Kent.
Expect backups over the next five weekends as crews repave a stretch of northbound Interstate 5 through SeaTac and Kent. dperine@thenewstribune.com

If you’re taking a weekend trip north from Tacoma between now and mid-July, do not expect to get to Seattle quickly.

Starting Friday, state contractors will spend the next five weekends repaving sections of northbound Interstate 5 through SeaTac and Kent.

The work is part of the $31 million remake of a stretch of highway built in 1965 with a 25-year life expectancy that has stretched to 51 years of use.

While work crews are on the job, the four lanes of northbound freeway will be narrowed to two.

When the work is done, there should be smooth new asphalt from state route 516 through the Southcenter area.

During the project, the state predicts considerable delays. Similar lane closures for work during the June 3-4 weekend led to six-mile backups, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Transportation Department traffic engineer Mike Swires recommended using transit or detours for unavoidable weekend travel.

“Drivers need to use alternatives, or be prepared for long delays,” Swires said in an agency news release. “We’ve already seen up to hour-long delays during the weekend in this area for this project.”

The work will depend on the weather. If it’s not delayed, the lane closures should end July 17.

Derrick Nunnally: 253-597-8693, @dcnunnally

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