Road crews will be busy throughout the summer with construction projects that will bring plenty of overnight and weekend closures. (AP file)

Summer construction season set to kick in with plenty of closures

It's already begun, the summer of our discontent, at least on the highways. Traffic managers are warning of almost continuous lane restrictions, road closures, detours and delays.

The work is planned on most major routes in the greater Seattle Tacoma area, including I-5, I-405, SR 520, SR 167 and SR 99.

It started Tuesday night with the complete closure of the northbound lanes of I-405 in Bellevue where contractors are replacing 900 aging concrete roadway panels.

"Everyone who drives through Bellevue on northbound 405 knows that it's a bumpy route," said Janice Fanning with the Washington State Department of Transportation. "The panels are 40 to 50 years old and they're cracked, rutted and separating."

Drivers can expect nighttime closures of nourthbound I-405 into September and some weekend closures too.

Those weekend closures will coincide with the complete closure of the 520 bridge. The first one is the weekend of July 12.

"To get the work done, we felt that it was okay to combine these two closures, 405 and 520 and then get the word out to people so that drivers can help us," said Fanning.

The 520 closure that same weekend will allow for a bridge inspection and installation of a fish culvert on the Eastside.

Transportation officials are asking drivers to start thinking now about alternate routes and other means of getting around, including buses, carpooling, trains and light rail.

Traffic managers say there are no plans to close major east-west routes at the same time, or similarly, two major north-south routes at the same time.

One of the first projects is the demolition of part of the SR 99 overpass above Mercer Street in Seattle. "We'll be demolishing the eastern half of Aurora, SR 99, putting all the traffic on the other side," said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Peter Hahn. "We'll still have two lanes in each direction and the closing will start 11 p.m., a week from Friday, which is July 5."

Also this summer, contractors will work on I-5 ramps at Corson Avenue and Spokane Street, which will include weekend closures.

More than a dozen projects on key routes will continue into October. A complete list of projects and closures is available at the state's website. Consider yourself warned.

Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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