CHOKEPOINTS

Avoid Seattle for busy construction closure weekend

Sep 7, 2021, 5:52 AM
Revive I-5, construction...
Cars on I-5 in Seattle. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Three routes into and out of the Seattle area are going to be closed for construction this weekend. It’s time to start planning your trips.

This coming weekend, I-5 southbound, the I-5 Express Lanes, and the Montlake Bridge are all going to be closed.

“It is going to be a really busy weekend, and we’re going to need people to plan ahead and be prepared for delays,” the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Tom Pearce said.

Let’s start with I-5 southbound: All lanes will be diverted into the collector-distributor just after James Street at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10. Workers are replacing expansion joints. They are also going to smooth out some of the bumps created by recent paving.

“We did the new paving first because it’s easier to align the expansion joint up with the new pavement than to do the expansion joint and then go in and make the pavement match that,” Pearce said.

This is going to make getting to the Sounders match difficult on Saturday, and will make it more difficult to get to T-Mobile Park for the Mariners series.

Complicating matters, the I-5 Express Lanes will be closed in both directions all weekend. Pearce said workers will replace 26 broken concrete panels during the closure.

“We’re going to dig out those panels, go all the way down to the dirt and make sure we’ve got a good base underneath it, and then we’re going to pour new concrete,” he said.

The Express Lanes will close at 9 p.m. Friday night and won’t reopen until Monday morning, Sept. 13.

And now to the Montlake Bridge. I know what you’re saying: “Didn’t they just close the bridge for a whole month?” That closure was for replacing the bridge deck. Now, workers need to repair the guts.

“We need several weekend closures to work on the mechanisms that help raise, lower, and lock the bridge,” Pearce said.

Montlake Bridge opens after month-long closure, more closures still ahead

There will be several more weekend closures of the Montlake Bridge, but all the closures will be done when the Huskies are out of town. The Montlake Bridge closure begins at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10.

Add all of this up, and it makes for a very disruptive construction weekend through Seattle.

Pearce said the backups really depend on you, the public. How you choose to get around will make all the difference.

“If people use the alternatives, if they carpool, if they take transit, if they postpone trips that they don’t really need to make, or if they use alternate routes, that’s going to lessen the backups,” he said. “If everybody tries to do the same thing that they always do, we’re going to see long backups.”

Time to start making your travel plans.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Avoid Seattle for busy construction closure weekend