CHOKEPOINTS

Revive I-5 returns with lane closures, but drivers have some things to cheer about too

Jul 13, 2021, 5:49 AM
Revive I-5, construction...
Cars on I-5 in Seattle. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Revive I-5 is back with another weekend of lane closures, but drivers have recently received some new lanes around the Sound.

The paving and expansion joint repair between I-90 and Spokane Street, lovingly referred to as Revive I-5, is back this weekend. There will be southbound I-5 lane reductions beginning Friday night, lasting through Monday morning. The Washington Department of Transportation’s Tom Pearce said these closures will be different than the first full closure a few weeks ago.

“Friday night we are going to reduce southbound I-5 to two lanes, and that’s going to be the configuration through Saturday,” Pearce said. “On Sunday, we are going to take it down to a single lane.”

But drivers will remain on the main freeway and won’t be forced to exit. During the first closure, all traffic had to exit at I-90 and use the collector-distributor lanes back to I-5. This time, the collector-distributor lanes will not go all the way through I-5.

“They’ll be able to get off at I-90, Dearborn, 4th Avenue and Airport Way,” Pearce said. “They just won’t be able continue on through.”

This also means that east and westbound I-90 drivers will not be able to access southbound I-5. Those ramps will be closed too because they use the C-D lane.

WSDOT’s Pearce said the first full closure resulted in backups more than 4 miles long. He expects heavy congestion again.

“Having the second lane on Saturday is going to make things better but we don’t want people to get lulled into a false sense of security,” he said. “Sunday we’re going to be down to a single lane. That could make things really rough if people are not prepared, if people are not planning to do other things.”

I-405 and SR 99 remain the primary alternates during this closure.

There is a chance this work could be postponed, if the weather gets wet. There are some forecasts of little sprinkles. We’ll keep you up to date.

But enough of the bad news: Drivers have a reason to celebrate. Two news lanes have opened around the region.

The northbound HOV lane between DuPont and Lakewood is now open. That gives HOV drivers another 4.5 miles of lane to use. The southbound HOV lane in the same stretch is supposed to open in August.

And eastbound I-90 drivers have a new auxiliary lane between Eastgate and Lakemont. The nearly 2-mile lane built on the right shoulder connects the two ramps. It provides a lot more room to merge between the exits, which should cut down on congestion. The westbound auxiliary lane should open in the fall.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Revive I-5 returns with lane closures, but drivers have some things to cheer about too