Earthwork at Nalley Valley raises reader’s curiosity

The in basket: Bruce Fields of Bremerton e-mailed to say, “I drive by the I-5/Highway 16/38th Street project in Tacoma each day. A few weeks ago they built up the north landing for the new bridge section, put big blocks on top and marked it with survey stakes.

“A few days later they lowered the staked spot 30-plus feet and moved it southwest by about the same.

“Was this for compaction of the bank for the piling bore holes or did they make a mistake and had to relocate the ‘spot?'”he asked.

The out basket: Claudia Bingham-Baker of the Olympic Region of state highways says “What the driver is seeing is a ‘pre-load’ of weight to purposefully compact the ground in that area.

“The pre-load material has been on-site for about two weeks, and twice daily surveyors have checked for settlement. Once the area settles to our geotechnical engineers’ satisfaction, the material will be removed,” she said.


2 thoughts on “Earthwork at Nalley Valley raises reader’s curiosity

  1. That project has been working for decades, with no end in sight. I have to laugh when I see the sign stating “… to relieve congestion..” I wonder if it is a training project for new engineers? I’m sure several have spent their entire careers on it.

  2. Yes, I remember hearing about the eventual Nalley Valley bypass in the sixties when I was a kid in Tacoma. It already has relived congestion. Prior getting from North I-5 to west 16 was a horror story. Now it’s a piece of cake. I’d been using the same technique of using the second left lane to get onto the 38th street exit since 1967, and I’ve had to un-learn it as it is now no longer necessary. Looking forward to completion, though.

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