Two weekend I-405 closures in Bellevue expected to snarl Eastside traffic
Now that the light rail bridge over I-405 in Bellevue is complete, it’s time to tear down the false superstructure contractors needed to support themselves during construction.
“They need to remove what they call false work and that is basically a system of steel beams and columns that they use to basically support the bridge while it was under construction,” explained Sound Transit’s Rochelle Cunningham.
Because of the superstructure’s location, there were be significant lane closures.
“They are going to be hoisting up these giant steel beams and columns and you know removing them to the surface of the road,” Cunningham said. “So the contractor determined that the fastest and the safest way to do that would be to close one direction of I-405 while they did that work.”
Rather than complete the work over a course of 20 weeks of nighttime closures, crews will get the work done in two weekends of full closures.
Bart Treece with the Washington Department of Transportation says the closures will create huge impacts on weekend traffic on the Eastside.
“They’re directional closures on I-405 southbound the first weekend, northbound the second weekend, and the closure will vary from day to day,” Treece said. “So Saturday will look different than Sunday.”
On Saturday, one lane of the freeway in the southbound direction will be closed, along with all the ramps adjacent to the bridge through the downtown core. Next Saturday, the same closure will exist but in the northbound direction.
Sundays is when we’ll see the real impact because the entire freeway will be closed with only one lane available through the collector distributor lane to get you through the downtown core. That will create havoc.
“It’s a different story because the work moves over the main line and only one lane will be open on those Sundays,” Treece said.
The closures are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. on Friday. The work should be completed by the 5 a.m. timeframe on Monday.
If you need to get into Bellevue, the best alternative is coming in from the north. Or take 520 and get off at the first Bellevue exit. If you take I-90, get off at Bellevue Way and work your way through.
“Those alternate routes are going to be really important for people to take so they can get to where they need to go in a reasonable amount of time,” Treece said.
Leave really or late is also another good way to avoid traffic volumes.