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Washington State has invested over $1.5 billion in special purpose lanes that form a crucial part of the central Puget Sound area’s highway system. Approximately 310 lane-miles of a planned 320-mile freeway system were built, including the Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 526 to U.S. 2 lanes.
To help eliminate sudden lane changes and improve a major traffic chokepoint on this stretch of highway, 10 miles of new high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on I-5 were added and two bridges were widened to increase safety and reduce congestion. A unique link slab design was incorporated into the two bridges to limit the effects of differential motion between the existing and new single-column piers during a seismic event. This special earthquake resisting system reduced the contractor's cost to build the bridges as part of this $160 million project.