Friday traffic better than expected

Traffic on Interstate 5 near Olympia was not as bad as expected during a large-scale construction project, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

On Friday, traffic on northbound and southbound I-5 was mostly nonexistent, and backups on U.S. Highway 101 were limited to about 2 miles, WSDOT spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said.

“We believe that this is an indication that people have gotten word of the construction and are taking alternate routes,” Baker said. “For that we are very grateful.”

The project to repair an aging expansion joint at the intersection of I-5 and U.S. 101 is scheduled to continue Saturday and Sunday and next weekend. Baker said WSDOT officials hope the lack of traffic will continue for the remainder of the construction.

“It’s good news,” Baker said. “And we just hope that people will continue doing what they’re doing, taking back ways.”

Travelers on northbound I-5 did experience some congestion near Tumwater on Friday morning, but Baker said that backup was the result of a rollover collision. The traffic flowed smoothly again once the accident was cleared.

Drivers could also see delays on Pacific Avenue and Lilly Road in Olympia next week, with city of Olympia road crews sealing cracks in the pavement. The work, which will be performed between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., will begin Monday and likely will be completed Friday.