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More I-5 concrete problems found, more night-time emergency closures planned

Here’s how they are fixing the crumbling section of Interstate 5

Caltrans workers repair sections of the Interstate 5 on Sept. 11, 2018 that crumbled twice in August, damaging a number of vehicles and causing traffic backups. Additional sections of the Sacramento freeway were found to need replacement.
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Caltrans workers repair sections of the Interstate 5 on Sept. 11, 2018 that crumbled twice in August, damaging a number of vehicles and causing traffic backups. Additional sections of the Sacramento freeway were found to need replacement.

At least 70 concrete slabs on Interstate 5 in Sacramento are at risk of failure and in need of repair or replacement, Caltrans officials said on Wednesday.

That determination comes a week after a large chunk of pavement crumbled on an elevated section of the freeway just south of Richards Boulevard, damaging several dozen vehicles. A nearby section of concrete had failed a month ago, also causing vehicular damage.

The two incidents prompted the state to launch ongoing emergency overnight repairs, and to conduct a review of the rest of the freeway between the area of the two August incidents and as far south as Pocket Road for problems.

Spokesman Dennis Keaton said the review, which is still in progress, has found 70 more slabs in need of work. Crews were to be sent out again Wednesday night to continue surveying the freeway.

As a result of the discoveries, Caltrans expects to continue to close some freeway lanes at night later this week and next week for repairs. The agency has not yet published a detailed schedule of nights or hours.

Keaton said the sunken section of the freeway downtown, known as the “boat section,” remains in good repair. Caltrans spent $40 million in 2008 to rehab that portion of the freeway.

The two concrete failures, however, did occur on a section of freeway that has seen rehabilitation work as recently as 2011, officials said.

Caltrans officials have not yet said why the concrete failed. But spokeswoman Deanna Shoopman said the agency has been patching and upgrading sections of the freeway that have reached the end of their useful life. The freeway was built in 1974 and is heavily used by big rigs and other commercial trucks.

“They keep Band-Aiding it over and over until you can’t Band-Aid it any longer,” she said. “It needs to be rehabilitated.”

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