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Originally published Friday, February 21, 2014 at 8:31 AM

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Major crack in U.S. 101 gives several drivers flats

The Olympian

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Thank all the folks that drive around with studded tires for damaging our highways. MORE
@Shortchanged Studded tires had very little if anything to do with this. It's cal... MORE
Just seems fundamentally useless, covering a flexing joint with something that is rigid... MORE


More than a dozen drivers reported damage to their vehicles early Thursday morning from a hole in a section of road where southbound U.S. Highway 101 merges with northbound Interstate 5 in Olympia.

“Troopers contacted approximately 15 vehicles northbound on I-5 between Capitol Boulevard and Sleater-Kinney Road with flat tires,” said Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill.

Lanes in the area were closed twice as crews scrambled to fix the problem, which stemmed from an exposed expansion joint.

“The expansion joint is basically a metal bar that holds slabs of concrete together and allows them to expand (and contract) in weather,” said Claudia Bingham-Baker with the state Department of Transportation. “The concrete around that particular expansion joint is broken.”

At first, crews covered the expansion joint with asphalt. When that didn’t work, crews used concrete, Bingham-Baker said.

More repairs will require night lane closures beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, when crews will close the right lane of northbound I-5 at milepost 104. Crews will also close the adjacent lane, which is the left lane of the southbound U.S. 101 access to northbound I-5. Both lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. Saturday.

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