Summer means traffic delays for Washington highways
Jun 1, 2023, 9:02 AM | Updated: 9:58 am
(Photo by Wolfram Steinberg via Getty Images)
It’s almost summer, and like the weeds in your yard, the orange cones (and traffic delays) are coming to Washington highways. Unfortunately, you can’t mow your way through them.
No matter where you are going this summer, you are going to run into lane closures, road closures, and delays. You need to check your plans and your routes carefully to navigate the sea of orange cones.
“We’re going to have situations where we have several roads closed at once, but we’re always going to have a way for people to get around,” the Washington Department of Transportation’s Tom Pearce said. “The big thing is to plan ahead. Think of alternatives wherever you’re traveling in the state and that’s going to help you get where you need to go.”
All of our local freeways will be impacted in some way this summer.
I-405 widening project on Eastside
Let’s start with I-405 and the widening project for the new express toll lanes from Bellevue to Renton. “We’ll have lane reductions on northbound I-405 for paving and bridge work to replace bridge joints as well as installing drainage,” WSDOT’s Craig Smiley said.
Two northbound I-405 lanes will be closed from Friday night through Monday morning between Coal Creek Parkway and NE 6th for this work. This weekend’s work will be in the left lanes. Next weekend, two right lanes in the same area will be closed.
But that’s not the biggest issue on I-405 this summer. The freeway will close in both directions near the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) for a weekend in August and a weekend in September. That coincides with Seahawks training camp, a preseason game, and the first home game at Lumen Field. Not exactly ideal.
“We coordinate heavily with the Seahawks,” Smiley said. “They are aware. They have about 10,000 people that come in there on a daily basis that are getting bussed down from The Landing in Renton. We’ve talked with them to be able to accommodate that.”
Contractors will also be tearing down and rebuilding the Lind Avenue Bridge over the southbound lanes of I-405 in Renton. It was hit by an overheight vehicle last summer.
“We have to replace that entire structure over southbound 405,” WSDOT’s Pearce said. “That’s going to require weekend full closures on 405. We will have detours in place but that’s going to take some major work to replace those damaged girders and rebuild.”
Montlake Bridge project continues
On the SR 520 Bridge project, Montlake Boulevard is going to be closed this weekend across SR 520.
“130,000 vehicles go up and down through this area on a typical weekend so we need to divert 130,000 vehicles. Plus all of the on and off ramps coming to and from Montlake will be closed,” WSDOT’s Steve Peer said.
The closure starts at 10 p.m. Friday night and lasts through 5 a.m. Monday.
There is good news for the 520 Montlake Project. The eastbound connection from Montlake to the floating bridge should be open this fall.
Yes, I-5 will have traffic delays this summer too
You had better believe that I-5 is in the mix this summer in a big way.
“They are getting ready to set 30 girders for two new structures over I-5 near the 516 interchange,” WSDOT’s Kris Olsen said.
This work will nearly close I-5 from midnight to 4 a.m. on weeknights. This work starts in late June and extends into July.
“One direction of I-5 at a time will be reduced to a single open lane overnight,” Olsen said. “That single open lane is actually going to be funneled across the median and into the HOV lane of the opposite side of I-5.”
More from Chokepoints: Ambitious fish passage work begins under I-90 in Bellevue
It will take 18 days to set all of the girders.
Revive I-5 is also back this summer from the Duwamish River to Lucille Street. This is for concrete panel repair and expansion joint work.
As for Revive I-5 from downtown Seattle to Northgate, that has been pushed to 2024.
Roundabout on the way for Highway 9 in Lake Stevens
And one more for this weekend.
A seven-day closure of Highway 9 in Lake Stevens begins Friday night. Highway 9 will be closed between Lundeen Parkway and SR 204 until Thursday morning to put in a roundabout.
What about MLB All-Star weekend?
Most construction should be taking it off.