Capitol Hill light rail construction update: Street closure plus when I-5 Olive exit will reopen

Capitol Hill’s light rail construction site is set for a busy start to March with the construction wall that will eventually surround the lot already taking shape and a busy slate of utility work about to commence. More on that including a new road closure in Sound Transit’s construction update, below, plus some additional details about a few questions we checked in on about the Olive Way exit and some pedestrian safety issues.



Blocked Out

Originally uploaded by Mr. Erickson

At the Broadway site, a portion of the plywood construction wall has already been completed on the 10th Ave side of the construction lot and on the west and south of the site, the steel support beams are being placed and wood panels attached. Sound Transit says the wall is being installed “to help protect the businesses and residents in this area from dust, debris and construction noise. The outside of the wall will later be painted and art will be installed at selected locations.”

CHS has received a few questions about pedestrian issues at the E. Howell access to Nagle Place from Broadway. We’ve been told that crossing there is starting to get dangerous as more and more traffic use the tiny outlet to enter Broadway. A Sound Transit rep said he was looking into any safety issues with the area but did say the sidewalk and intersection should remain open so people can access the park and the path to continue on around the construction site. One factor adding to the amount of activity on Howell is construction in the former Everyday Music building on the south end of Nagle and the workers putting any finishing touches on the Broadway Building next door.

We also asked Sound Transit about when the Olive Way off-ramp from I-5 should re-open. The exit has been closed since last May as crews have been working on a process to prepare I-5 for the Capitol Hill light rail tunneling that will pass beneath. The best window Sound Transit could give us at this point is re-opening the exit in late spring or early summer. Apparently, some of the most important work in the project is happening right now as workers cut the pathway for the tunnel boring machine to pass through under the freeway. Once that work is complete, Sound Transit should be able to provide a more precise schedule.

Another process that will begin this month back behind the Broadway plywood is the preparation of the construction site soil for the tunnel boring machine. We wrote about jet grouting (and other elements of Phase 2 of the light rail construction process)  here. The grouting involves injecting the soil with a cement-like substance — including “cement, cement kiln dust, calcium chloride or other high pH materials” — to improve stability. Sound Transit is also requiring its contractor not to perform the jet grouting “during periods of rain or if rain is forecast.” El Niño is apparently a fan of rail transit.

With the increased activity, comes increased truck traffic. Seattle Department of Transportation has a few pedestrian improvements in place  that should hopefully help make things a little safer for those on foot.

Here’s more from Sound Transit’s latest construction update e-mail including notice that the weird stub where 10th meets Denny will be closed completely for a period starting any day now. You can sign up for notifications and get more information about the University Link project here.

 

Utility work for Capitol Hill Light Rail Station Sound Transit’s contractor is beginning to relocate underground utilities from E. Denny Way to make room for the light rail excavation. This portion of the work is expected to take place during the daytime from March to May 2010, and includes the following activities:

  • Starting as early as Monday, March 1st through May 1st 2010, the intersection of East Denny Way and 10th Avenue East will be closed to traffic while the contractor installs a new manhole, storm and sewer lines. There will be no through-access for vehicles. The sidewalk will remain open to pedestrians.
  • Sound Transit’s contractor will cut and cap the existing sewer and water line along Nagle Pl. just south of E. Howell St. The street will remain open but there will be a lane closure on the on the east side of Nagle.

For this portion of the work, dirt and other material will be heading to a disposal site south of Seattle. The trucks hauling materials from the site will travel on Broadway to Boren, Rainier Ave. and I-90. This haul route provides a more direct path to the disposal site, and allows the City of Seattle time to construct needed pedestrian safety improvements on the Olive – Denny haul route. The route will be in effect for three months starting as early as March through May 2010.

5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill light rail construction update: Street closure plus when I-5 Olive exit will reopen

  1. “The best window Sound Transit could give us at this point is re-opening the exit in late spring or early summer. Apparently, some of the most important work in the project is happening right now as workers cut the pathway for the tunnel boring machine to pass through under the freeway. Once that work is complete, Sound Transit should be able to provide a more precise schedule.”

    I read that to be any time up until late July for the opening of the Olive St. Exit? *sigh*

  2. Another (continual) waste of money. Anyone who has been around any type of large construction site knows that continually spraying water on the site is the only way to hold down dust. As for that wall….is this the same one that whose artwork will cost the taxpayers ten grand!!!

  3. With the Denny Wy. closure at Broadway, eastbound drivers on Denny MUST turn north or south at Broadway. This is creating gridlock and backups, especially in the afternoons with northbound cars on Broadway backed up from the light at Olive/John. If you’re trying to continue your eastbound journey by turning right onto John St., you’re stuck in the backup at the light because there’s no room to move into the right turn lane because of the parked cars on Broadway.

    Any chance the DOT would restrict parking on Broadway there so as to create another northbound lane for vehicles wanting to turn right onto John?

  4. I’m not sure about your comments re: dust, but speaking as a resident on the other side of 10th from the site, I can tell you the noise reduction qualities of the wall are not going to be wasted on me.