Left-turn lanes now open on Montlake Blvd., retiring the on-ramp’s awkward U-turn

Mar 24, 2024, 12:01 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 1:42 pm

left-turn lanes Montlake...

Screenshot of the live webcam of SR-520 project. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

Two new dedicated left-turn lanes were opened on Montlake Boulevard Monday, allowing drivers heading north to get directly onto westbound 520 and making traveling from Montlake onto Highway 520 a lot easier, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Before the left-turn lanes were made available, WSDOT spokesperson Steve Peer said motorists on Montlake Boulevard had a complicated path to get onto the highway.

More on Wash. roads: Lane sweeping is all too common and needs to stop

“It’s kind of a circuitous U-turn that the drivers would take, so this will be a more direct route for those coming from Capitol Hill to go to westbound 520,” Peer told KIRO Newsradio.

More than 40,000 drivers travel through that intersection daily, according to Peer.

“It’s also going to help drivers that are going northbound on Montlake that want to go through all the way to the University of Washington,” Peer added. “They won’t have those cars that are wanting to go a different direction clogging up their area.”

WSDOT’s SR 520 Montlake Project

The now-completed left-turn lanes are just one part of WSDOT’s SR 520 and Montlake Boulevard project. The Montlake Project was initialized to improve transportation for both motorized and nonmotorized travel along the corridor with a new SR 520 eastbound bridge over Union Bay.

“This project also builds a new, three-acre lid covering the highway in Montlake that will include regional transit stops and open green space,” WSDOT stated when describing the construction project. “East of the lid, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge will be constructed over SR 520.”

More on Wash. roads: Why do so many people get freaked out at four-way stops?

Originally started in 2019, the $455 million project is expected to be fully complete this summer. The department also aims to replace all of SR 520’s bridges with stronger structures while extending bus and carpool lanes from Seattle to Redmond and creating a regional bicycle/pedestrian path. These additions are expected to happen by the late 2020s.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Left-turn lanes now open on Montlake Blvd., retiring the on-ramp’s awkward U-turn