At the beginning of April, WSDOT, Cowlitz Tribe, Swinerton, and Kittleson & Associates received notification that the I-5/La Center Road Interchange project was selected as the 2018 Project of the Year winner of Transportation $25 million – $75 million by the American Public Works Association – Washington State Chapter. In addition, the project continued to rack up accomplishments, as the DJC named the I-5/La Center Road Interchange the Top Project in the transportation category, and the ilani Casino Resort took home second place in the hospitality category.
The unique Design-Build project replaced a seismically deficient overpass and inefficient road design for the new development of the ilani Casino Resort. A public-private partnership was utilized to achieve accelerated construction. An interchange project that would typically take two years to construct needed to be substantially complete in just 10 months, with deck pour operations occurring in December and January. The new interchange is a public asset, but all funding was provided by the Cowlitz Tribe. Right-of-way acquisition to address Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) operational and safety needs would usually have been ensured through eminent domain, but the project’s private funding meant all acquisition had to be voluntary.
Just minutes north of Portland, this section of I-5 is a major commuter and West Coast freight route. Keeping traffic moving during construction was vitally important. The completed interchange and supporting infrastructure would need to have relatively low maintenance costs, provide a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly gateway to the City of La Center and Cowlitz Reservation, and improve safety for the traveling public.
Congratulations to all project team members, subcontractors, and vendors!