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Montlake Bridge to close for a month this summer

84 individual metal grids make up the deck of the Montlake Bridge. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

It’s never too early to warn you about a month long closure of a very busy route.

Drivers need to be prepared for a month-long closure of the Montlake Bridge in August, cutting off access to the 60,000 vehicles a day that use that span.

The Montlake Bridge was built in 1924. It is an old-fashioned, metal grate bridge. To say it’s noisy and bumpy to drive over would be an understatement.

“This is an aging bridge with a metal deck that is coming apart,” the Washington State Department of Transportation‘s Joe Calabro said.

The bridge hasn’t had any major repairs since 1998, and it’s time to show it some love.

“This bridge deck was last replaced over 20 years ago, and it’s worn to the point that it’s coming apart,” Calabro said. “In 2020, our crews had to weld patches onto the metal grid deck nine different times.

Putting bandage after bandage on the bridge just doesn’t make sense, so they are going to replace all 84 metal grids in one closure.

“This involves a 26-day continuous closure to vehicle traffic in August,” Calabro said.

WSDOT is targeting Aug. 9 to Sept. 3 for the closure, which would squeeze it in between the end of Seafair and the start of Labor Day weekend.

Pedestrian and boat traffic will be available during this month-long closure, but later in the fall, Calabro said workers will need to close the corridor to everyone on five weekends. The state is still working with the Coast Guard on how to keep boats moving through the closures.

Reconnection of Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood begins

Contractors working on the Montlake Bridge and those working on the 520 Bridge project in Montlake are coordinating their efforts during these closures so some necessary 520 work can be done at the same time.

“We can combine closures with the closures that project plans to do on Montlake Boulevard, so that we can limit the effects to the community,” Calabro said.

The 520 Project was expected to close Montlake Boulevard later this year as it works to tie-in the new lid over the freeway, which is under construction. A lot of that work will be done during the bridge work.  Montlake Boulevard is expected to transition to the new lid in the fall.

I know it’s only late March, and August seems like a long time from now, but Calabro wants you to have this in the back of your mind as you make summer plans.

“It’s really important for people to stay informed and plan ahead for these closures,” he said.

You should expect a lot more traffic through the Montlake neighborhood streets and on the University Bridge during these closures.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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