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Major lane shift coming for eastbound 520 drivers

Westbound 520 drivers have been facing increased travel times across the lake since the state took away a lane for the next phase of construction. Now eastbound drivers are going to get the same treatment.

The Monday morning eastbound drive across 520 is going to be a lot different than the drive on Friday morning. A major lane shift at Montlake will happen during a full eastbound closure over the weekend.

The state’s Steve Peer said eastbound 520 will be closed from 11 p.m. Friday night through 5 a.m. Monday between Montlake and Medina.

During the closure, the eastbound lanes will be shifted to the left. Come Monday, both directions of 520 will be on the new section connecting the floating bridge and Montlake.

“Right about Montlake, they (the lanes) will shift over and they will become part of the existing westbound lanes,” Peer said. “So three lanes will shift to two lanes between Montlake and the floating bridge.”

The shift will make for a new and somewhat squeezed drive for everyone.

“It’s a tight configuration for about a mile and a half,” Peer said. “There are very narrow lanes in both directions. There’s a barrier on each side of the highway.”

Drivers should expect five minute delays, on average, heading in the eastbound direction.  That’s not as bad, as westbound drivers have experienced since losing a lane for construction a few weeks ago.  Westbound drivers in the morning have been experiencing up to 15 minute delays during the most intense morning commutes.  The average delay has been between five and ten minutes.

This newly reduced lane configuration will last for more than three years, as the state builds the new eastbound lanes connecting Montlake and the floating bridge.

There is still about a decade of work left to complete before the 520 project is considered done.

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