Work nears on demolition of Wilburton Tunnel

The I-405, South Bellevue Widening Project continues to pave the way for reduced congestion in and out of Bellevue. In order to make room for additional southbound I-405 lanes in south Bellevue, the contractors for the state Department of Transportation next will bring out the wrecking ball.

The I-405, South Bellevue Widening Project continues to pave the way for reduced congestion in and out of Bellevue. In order to make room for additional southbound I-405 lanes in south Bellevue, the contractors for the state Department of Transportation next will bring out the wrecking ball.

The Wilburton Tunnel is slated for removal beginning mid-July with construction crews set to work around the clock to remove dirt from the top and sides of the tunnel. The crews will start on a Sunday night at 8 p.m. and continue with the excavation work through Thursday night. Lane closures will take place at night.

According to Barbara Ramey, in charge of Public Information for the project, the nightly construction work should not directly impact the morning or evening commute. While commuters may not be affected, residents in surrounding neighborhoods will have to plan their weekends in August around the noisy construction.

A recent noise notice was issued by the DOT to prepare nearby residents for the elevated noise volume during three 54-hour weekend periods in August. The noise notice was mailed to all residents and businesses within a half-mile radius of the tunnel.

Starting the weekend of Aug. 8 and continuing through the weekend of Aug. 22, a large crane with a wrecking ball will be used to break down the tunnel and hydraulic excavators with speciality attachments will crunch and break concrete for removal. Engineers estimate that the noise will top 80 decibels, equivalent to the noise projected by a freight train from 50 feet away or the loud churning of a garbage disposal.

The planned I-405 improvements are scheduled for completion by late 2009.

For questions regarding the project, contact the following: During business hours contact Barbara Ramey at 425-401-4143; during night hours contact Wade Hampton at 425-766-2471; and for generalized WSDOT questions contact Steve Peer at 425-301-2032.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or 425-453-4602.


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