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520 bridge project to bring weekend closures to Montlake

The 520 bridge project in Montlake is about to ramp up construction again, and that will mean big changes for drivers. It starts with some closures this weekend.

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Husky fans need to pay close attention to this one if they’re heading to the game on Saturday — the ramp from westbound 520 to Montlake Boulevard might not be open when they get there.

“We’re going to be closing the westbound off-ramps to Montlake Boulevard and Lake Washington Boulevard,” Washington Department of Transportation’s Steve Peer said. “The big one is Montlake Boulevard, which is the westbound way to get from the eastside over to UW.”

Those ramps will close at 11 p.m. Friday night and last through 5 a.m. Monday.

WSDOT needs to move that ramp to the north to create a work zone for upcoming construction. But Dawg fans who time their drive right will be OK.

“We will reopen that closed ramp, starting four hours before the game and lasting two hours after the game,” Peer said.

That translates to 12:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m. on Saturday if there is no lightning.

This tweak in the off-ramp clears the way for the start of construction of the new eastbound bridge between Montlake and the floating bridge. When construction begins near the end of this year, all eastbound drivers are going to be put on the westbound bridge.

“We just built those westbound lanes in the last couple of years, and we built them wide enough to accommodate two lanes in each direction between Montlake and the floating bridge,” Peer said.

It will stay in this configuration for about three years as the existing eastbound bridge is taken down and the new one is put up. The state will also be building a large lid over the freeway at Montlake. It will include a direct access ramp to Montlake for HOV vehicles and buses.

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Once Montlake is finished, the contractor can start working on what the state calls the “Rest of the West,” the connection from Montlake to I-5. That will feature a new bridge over Portage Bay.

The state is also adding a reversible transit-only lane connecting 520 to the I-5 express lanes. That should be done in 2023.

According to Peer, there is about a decade’s worth of work left to do before the 520 project will officially be completed.

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