The Friday heading into Memorial Day weekend is a typically heavy-traffic day, meaning congestion and slowdowns. The bridge collapse over the Skagit River on Interstate 5 will amplify these common problems.
The Washington State Department of Transportation recommends avoiding I-5 through Skagit County if at all possible.
Currently, southbound I-5 is closed at George Hopper Road. A detour will take traffic east on George Hopper, south on Riverside Drive and west on SR 528 before directing back to the freeway.
Expect to see a signed detour on southbound I-5 at Chuckanut (exit 231) that will divert traffic west on SR 20, south on Best Road, east on Fir Island Road and back to the freeway at SR 534.
Northbound I-5 has a signed detour directing traffic off at SR 534, then west on Fir Island Road, north on Best Road and east on SR 20 back to I-5. There will be no lanes closed at SR 534, says WSDOT.
Additionally, northbound I-5 is closed at SR 538 where traffic is being diverted east on SR 538, north on Riverside Drive, west on George Hopper Road and back to I-5.
For alternate routes, WSDOT recommends eastbound SR 20, then south on S. Burlington Blvd. and west on E. College Way (SR 538) to southbound I-5.
Northbound I-5 traffic must exit at exit 227. That alternate route is east to E. College Way to northbound Riverside Drive, S. Burlington Boulevard, then west on George Hopper Road to I-5.
To use SR 9 as an alternate northbound route, bypassing Mount Vernon, take Exit 221 at SR 534 east to northbound SR 9 to SR 20 westbound to I-5. However, KIRO traffic reporter Shane Cobane does not recommend this route because of road construction. Only one direction of traffic is let through on potions of SR 9 while road crews are at work.
During the Friday morning commute, travel times between Bellingham and Mt. Vernon exceeded 70 minutes.
WSDOT estimates detour routes will be in effect for some time.