CHOKEPOINTS

I-5 construction persists through Seafair weekend with WSDOT halfway through revival project

Aug 4, 2022, 6:39 AM | Updated: 8:18 am

seafair boats bridge party...

Photo from Flickr

This is about as busy of a summer weekend as you can get in Seattle, but construction will not be taking any time off.

This is Seafair Weekend. Our first real one in three years. The Blue Angels are flying. The hydros are racing.

The Mariners are in playoff contention with a home series, including a doubleheader on Saturday. The Seahawks have a mock game at Lumen Field on Saturday, which is also open to the public. Plus the Lake Union Block Party, and on and on.

Revive I-5 will likely impact all of it.  “If you like sports, get out on the water or want to enjoy the Blue Angels, this is a great weekend to get out,” the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Amy Moreno said.  “Unfortunately, we cannot put our construction work on hold.

Revive I-5 southbound lane closures continue this weekend

The right-hand lanes of southbound Interstate 5 will close near Interstate 90 at 10 p.m. Friday night, and the closure will last through early Monday morning. The collector-distributor will not go all the way through to I-5,  you will be forced off at the stadiums. This will keep the I-90 on-ramps to I-5 open all weekend. The contractor made this change yesterday because of all of the events.

Why no weekends off?

Workers need every weekend during the dry season to get this expansion joint replacement project done.  “We really have to get the work done this year,” Moreno said. “We have some huge projects coming down the pipeline so we need to get the work done this summer and into the early fall so we can wrap up this work and be ready for the work that’s coming in the future.”

So where are we on the schedule? How is the expansion joint repair work going?

“We’re about halfway when it comes to the number of weekends,” Moreno said. “We’ve completed 24 joints. We have three that need some finishing work, that are considered half completed.”

The project is expected to replace more than 35 expansion joints in total. This work is planned to continue through September.

But Moreno said the contractor will be ramping up work where it can.

“Coming up in future weekends, they will be adding some more joints to the schedule so we might not always be able to finish so early,” she said.

The work wrapped up early during several weekend closures in July.

It’s not just Revive I-5 that will get in the way this weekend.

The 99 tunnel in Seattle will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday night through 6 a.m. Saturday morning. That’s for annual inspections and maintenance. A northbound left lane of I-5 will be closed from Mercer to Lakeview from midnight Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday.

So what are your options?

Moreno says the southbound I-5 backups don’t really show up until after 9 a.m. If you are driving, you should consider getting to your destination early to take advantage of that. The light rail is also a great option for most of the events. Seafair is running shuttles from the Columbia City light rail station to Genesee Park. It can also get you to the stadium district easily.

Of course, you can always make friends with someone who has a boat and enjoy the weekend that way.

There are a few positives this weekend. The I-5 express lanes will remain northbound all weekend.

And the Blue Angels no longer require the closure of I-90. They have moved center-point of their show a little to the south. That started in 2019.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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