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Weekend construction to snarl Seattle area traffic

WSDOT crews will be replacing concrete panels on I-405 much like this, which will close the major interstate over the weekend. (WSDOT Photo)

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Be prepared to squeeze-in with thousands of other drivers on I-5 and I-90 if you're driving around Seattle this weekend. Interstate 405 and SR 520 are going to be closed both days for major construction projects.

Getting around Seattle on a summer weekend is never easy to do, but with northbound I-405 through Bellevue and most of SR 520, not just the bridge, things will be particularly difficult.

"Now's the time to take a few minutes and get your game plan together," Washington State Department of Transportation's Travis Phelps said. "Carpooling, take the bus, whatever it is - just make sure you don't head out this weekend unplanned. You're going to get stuck in some gridlock if you're not prepared."

Northbound I-405 will be closed from NE 8th to 520 so crews can start replacing about 900 concrete panels. "We hope to get about half of it done this weekend," Phelps said. "Another half will come later on this summer."

State Route 520 will be closed from Montlake to I-405. The DOT needs the whole bridge for the annual summer inspection, and it will be putting-in two large culverts needed for the widening project on the east side of Lake Washington.

So why shut down two major corridors through the area on one weekend when the state knows it's going to create ridiculous congestion? Phelps said despite all the events this weekend it is actually one of the calmest weekends of the summer.

"This weekend we have three Mariners' games," Phelps said. "We have a Sub Pop anniversary concert on Airport Way. We also have STP riding through town. All that sounds like a lot, but some of the other weekends are even more packed. So we're looking at ones where we can squeeze in work and combine those closures to get as much done as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time."

Northbound I-405 through Bellevue closes at 10 p.m. and 530 closes at 11 p.m. on Friday. Both will reopen Monday morning.

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