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Montlake neighborhood to be isolated for 520 construction this weekend

Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood is basically off-limits this weekend. Not only is the Montlake Bridge closed, but all access to the neighborhood from the 520 Bridge will be closed too.

What you need to know about month-long Montlake Bridge closure

Montlake will feel like an island for 55 hours this weekend. The Washington Department of Transportation is shutting the area down to finish the initial portion of the lid over State Route 520.

“We are shutting down five of six on or off ramps from the Montlake area, which is unprecedented,” WSDOT’s Steve Peer said. “If you’re traveling to or from here, it’s going to be very, very difficult to get in or out of this neighborhood.”

The only ramp that will be open is the westbound 520 on-ramp from Montlake for residents only, and even they will need a pilot car to maneuver through the construction zone. The closures begin at 10 p.m. Friday night and will last through early Monday morning.

Workers will be moving the northbound and southbound lanes on Montlake Boulevard to the new lid. Those new lanes will be open Monday morning, though the Montlake Bridge closure will last until Sept. 3.

“To be able to do that, we have to have all of these off ramps, Mountlake Boulevard closed, Lake Washington Boulevard closed,” Peer said. “It is a very significant closure. You might say this is a massive closure this weekend.”

Drivers will notice a severe transition to and from the lid from Montlake Boulevard. This is only a temporary configuration until the the lid is completed in about two years. Then a more normal and straight route will be in place.

Peer said they combined this work with the Montlake Bridge closure to keep the delays to a minimum.

“The silver lining to this closure is we’re already closed on the Montlake Bridge,” Peer said. “We’re able to work together so that we don’t have a multitude of closures.”

How is work going on the Montlake Bridge? You might remember that the state is replacing all 84 steel panels that make up the bridge deck. WSDOT engineering manager Ed Kane said they are on schedule to open the bridge on Sept. 3.

“No major surprises,” Kane said about the work so far. “There’s a little bit of miscellaneous steel repair here and there, but we allowed for some of that in the schedule.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation continues to make changes to the signal timing on either side of the Montlake Bridge to match real-time congestion. SDOT’s Jon Layzer knows it’s been a difficult month for residents.

“We still have a long way to go on this project and more impacts to come,” he said.

The Montlake Bridge will have to close for five more weekends this fall to work on the mechanical systems. That work is scheduled for weekends when the University of Washington football team is playing on the road.

The state has also removed 17,000 tons of contaminated soil from the old gas station at the Montlake interchange this month.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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