The job is scheduled from 9 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday, just before the Sixth Avenue South/Forest Street exit. The right two lanes will remain open.

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Three lanes of southbound Interstate 5 will close in Sodo on Tuesday night, so crews can repair a chronically loose expansion joint.

The job is scheduled from 9 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday, just before the Sixth Avenue South/Forest Street exit.

The right two lanes will remain open.

The Washington State Department of Transportation doesn’t consider this an emergency repair, and there was no particular event that prompted it, spokeswoman Andrea Flatley said.

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However, expansion joints in this area have been periodically loosening, which leads them to clang when wheels hit them.

Most of the work overnight will be done from below the road deck, as a bridge-repair team bolts down the steel joint covers, Flatley said.

A similar closure took place Nov. 10.

Perhaps the biggest disruption is the threat of rear-end crashes, as inattentive drivers approach the site.

The highway is about 51 years old. While the northbound lanes in Sodo have been rebuilt with new pavement and resilient epoxy-coated joints, the southbound lanes continue to use steel-plate covers, to protect the joints.

For years, the state has claimed a lack of money for a complete retrofit.

An expansion joint is a gap between bridge spans, so the concrete can expand in hot weather without causing cracks.

Aerial maps of the Seattle freeway show that this joint, and several others just beyond downtown, are surrounded by blacktop patches where the decks have eroded around the joints. The patches make the roadway even with the joint plates, so they don’t take a direct impact from car wheels.