Major crack in U.S. 101 gives several drivers flats

lpemberton@theolympian.comFebruary 21, 2014 

A photo tweeted by WSP Trooper Guy Gill shows damaged roadway on southbound U.S. Highway 101 to northbound Interstate 5 on Thursday. Multiple vehicles pulled to the side of the road with tire damage.

COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE PATROL

More than a dozen drivers reported damage to their vehicles early Thursday morning from a hole in a section of road where southbound U.S. Highway 101 merges with northbound Interstate 5 in Olympia.

“Troopers contacted approximately 15 vehicles northbound on I-5 between Capitol Boulevard and Sleater-Kinney Road with flat tires,” said Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill.

Lanes in the area were closed twice as crews scrambled to fix the problem, which stemmed from an exposed expansion joint.

“The expansion joint is basically a metal bar that holds slabs of concrete together and allows them to expand (and contract) in weather,” said Claudia Bingham-Baker with the state Department of Transportation. “The concrete around that particular expansion joint is broken.”

At first, crews covered the expansion joint with asphalt. When that didn’t work, crews used concrete, Bingham-Baker said.

More repairs will require night lane closures beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, when crews will close the right lane of northbound I-5 at milepost 104. Crews will also close the adjacent lane, which is the left lane of the southbound U.S. 101 access to northbound I-5. Both lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. Saturday.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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