Final Revive I-5 closure of the year, more school zone cameras, and light rail

Sep 30, 2021, 5:39 AM
Seattle I-5, steel, revive...
Cars on I-5 southbound, headed toward downtown Seattle in July 2021. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

This is a Chokepoints grab bag edition. I have a few topics on my mind.

Let’s start with the return of Revive I-5.

This is the final Revive I-5 weekend of the year. The Washington State Department of Transportation still needs about a dozen weekend closures for the stretch of freeway between downtown Seattle and Spokane Street to complete the work, but that will have to wait until next year.

This weekend’s closure begins Friday night and lasts through Monday morning. All southbound I-5 drivers will be forced off the freeway at the collector-distributor lanes.

“It will be like you’re going to I-90 or you’re going to one of the sports stadiums down there,” WSDOT’s Tom Pearce said. “All the through southbound traffic will just continue through that collector-distributor and then get back on southbound I-5 south of where we’re working.”

Only one lane of through traffic will certainly cause big backups through the city. It wasn’t pretty the last time drivers were forced off at the C-D lanes.

“Last time, it went back to about 45th and, again, it just depends on what people choose to do,” Pearce said.

To complicate matters, the Sounders have a home match Sunday night and the Mariners have their final homestand of the season. Getting to those games will be difficult this weekend, but you will have an option for getting out of those games. The I-90 ramp to southbound I-5 will be open to let postgame traffic out, which is a change from the last full-time closure.

Workers will be replacing expansion joints during this closure and finally smoothing-out those bumps south of the city created by the recent paving.

School zone speed cameras are expanding.

Tukwila is the latest city to install school zone speed cameras. They have been placed along South 144th Street, which runs along Foster High School and Showater Middle School.

This is a notorious cut-through for people trying to cross I-5, without using Highway 518. Since the cameras went active Sept. 1, Tukwila Police report an average of 70 speeding violations a day. Those violators have been getting warnings so far, but that grace period ends Friday.

Starting Oct. 1, speeding drivers will be issued a ticket. The cameras only operate when the signs are flashing, even if you don’t think there are people around, and will only operate during normal school hours.

And finally, Sound Transit light rail will expand to Northgate on Saturday.

The 4-mile light rail extension from Husky Stadium to Northgate is finally done. The University District and Roosevelt stations will also open this weekend. You can expect 14 minute light rail trips from Northgate to downtown Seattle.

Light rail finally reaches Northgate, a promise 25 years in the making

Just a reminder for Snohomish County bus riders: Most of your buses will no longer go into downtown Seattle. You will be dropped off at Northgate, and you will need to finish your trip by light rail.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


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Final Revive I-5 closure of the year, more school zone cameras, and light rail