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Blowing up Washington’s Interstate 90

By Erik Olsen

Who said infrastructure improvement was boring?

This video shows the Washington State Department of Transportation’s efforts to widen Interstate 90. The work, which began in 2009 and is supposed to finish sometime in 2019, will provide an additional pair of lanes to relieve congestion on one of the state’s most important transportation corridors.

Over 3,000 miles long, Interstate 90 is America’s longest highway, crossing the north of the country from Seattle to Boston.

Currently, an average of 28,000 vehicles a day use the highway in Washington alone. By 2030, that number is expected to nearly double. Like many other parts of America’s ailing infrastructure, Interstate 90 has been in need of improvement for many years. Not only are the roads being widened, but hillsides are being blasted to reduce the risk of landslides, and bridges and tunnels are being built to allow for the safe passage of wildlife.

The improvements you can see here are just a small part of what the American highway system actually needs. The American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 report card gives the overall condition of American infrastructure a D+, noting that some $3.6 trillion is needed by 2020 to bring it up to modern standards.