A Ferndale construction company is about to start its biggest project ever with the goal of improving traffic in the Seattle area.
IMCO General Construction is beginning work this weekend on a $120 million project to improve the Interstate 90 section between Seattle and Bellevue. This is the third phase of a $220 million project to add carpool lanes and make safety upgrades. This also will set the stage to put in light rail service across I-90.
For IMCO, it’s a long-term project that will keep its workers busy through May 2017. Around 50 IMCO employees will be working on the project, along with many subcontractors, including Bellingham’s Diamond B Constructors, said Ashley Kimberley, director of marketing for IMCO.
Kimberley said it was a competitive bid process as IMCO beat out three other finalists.
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“It’s great that there is a lot of work ahead on a project that is relatively close to home,” Kimberley said.
This weekend is the first of up to 30 weekend directional closures. Traffic will be detoured to the I-90 express lanes during the directional closures, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Congestion could get heavy during some of Seattle’s weekend sporting events, but efforts will be made to avoid that, said Annie Johnson of the WSDOT.
Once completed, Seattle commuters should see a significant improvement in traffic flow. I-90 was originally built with the focus on people commuting into Seattle to work. With 24-hour carpool lanes going in both directions, it should improve travel time, Johnson said.
“Now we have a lot of Seattle folks who travel east to go to work, so this will be a big help,” Johnson said.
Kimberley said some of the more interesting aspects of the project include retrofitting the Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnels. That includes improving the ventilation system, fire suppression and lighting. It also prepares the tunnels for the next big project, a 14-mile light rail service between Seattle and Bellevue. The light rail service is scheduled to be ready in 2023, according to WSDOT.
IMCO has worked on a variety of large road projects, including the widening of the Guide Meridian near the Canadian border. It is currently working on Lynden’s new water treatment plant and has done work for Boeing and several state and municipal agencies. Details about the company can be found at imco-inc.com. Details on the project can be found at wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i90/twowaytransit.