CHOKEPOINTS

New flyover ramp to cross I-5 in Seattle this month

May 9, 2023, 4:13 AM

I-5...

I-5 girder ramp installation off of State Route 18 in 2011 (Photo from Washington State Department of Transportation)

(Photo from Washington State Department of Transportation)

You have 10 days to get your travel plans in order as the state is going to close northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) in Seattle next weekend for a key expansion of the State Route 520 corridor.

Your sight lines are changing on I-5. The first new overpass over the freeway in a long time is going in next weekend, May 19 through 21. The girders for the new reversible ramp connecting SR-520 and the I-5 express lanes are going in that weekend.

More Chokepoints: After lengthy closure, how is West Seattle Bridge holding up?

“We’re entering that part of this project where a lot of the things that we’re going to be doing moving forward are going to be major visual changes,” the Washington Department of Transportation’s Tony Black said. “This is one of the first major additions to the downtown Seattle area on I-5 in a very long time.”

This ramp will be parallel to the existing ramp to southbound I-5, but it will dive down into the express lanes.

“We’re gonna have two cranes that are going to lift the girders in place and kind of assemble them in midair, and they’ll have the crews out there to bolt them on to the concrete crossbeams that we have and then set them and tighten them,” Black said. “It’s a big, big task to accomplish.”

A total of 15 girders will be put in over the weekend, but to do this, WSDOT needs to close parts of I-5.

All northbound lanes of I-5 will be closed from Friday, May 19, from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20. The express lanes will then be closed from 11 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.

All northbound mainline drivers are going to be forced off the freeway to eastbound SR-520.

“So anyone who’s on northbound I-5 at that point will be detoured to take eastbound 520 and then get off at Montlake Boulevard where there’ll be a uniformed police officer there to help guide them, turn around, get back on westbound 520, and rejoin northbound I-5 just past where we’re going to be working,” Black said.

If you forget to exit, you’re going to Bellevue whether you want to or not, and you will have to pay the toll.

This reversible lane is scheduled to open in about a year, about the same time as the 520 Montlake Lid project wraps up. It will be bus-only until the final portion of the 520 projects, from Montlake to I-5, wraps up in about eight or nine years. After that, it will be an HOV and transit ramp connecting SR-520 and the express lanes.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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