SEATTLE – Major construction will kick into high gear this weekend on State Route 520 east of Lake Washington. All lanes of the highway will close so crews can move in more than two million pounds of massive concrete girders for new lidded overpasses above the highway.
SR 520 lanes and ramps will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue. All lanes and ramps will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. The Interstate 5 ramps to and from Mercer Street in Seattle also will close for a weather-dependent city of Seattle project. During these closures, travelers can expect traffic congestion on I-5 and alternate routes across and around Lake Washington.
“We avoided major construction closures in December to keep holiday traffic flowing,” said Brian Dobbins, construction engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project. “This closure comes during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, but with help from drivers, we expect traffic to flow smoothly around the region.” The highway will reopen Monday before the annual rally and parade in downtown Seattle.
Crews must close SR 520 to install girders as part of new lidded overpasses under construction at Evergreen Point Road and 92nd Avenue Northeast. Large cranes will be stationed on the highway to install two girders at Evergreen Point Road and 10 girders at 92nd Avenue Northeast. Crews already installed 46 girders at Evergreen Point Road and worked through November and December pouring concrete decks for the overpass lid.
WSDOT encourages drivers to plan ahead before traveling this weekend. The heaviest traffic is expected midday Saturday and Sunday on Interstates 5 and 90 heading into Seattle and on I-405 approaching I-90. The express lane schedules will change this weekend on I-5 and I-90 to help improve traffic flow.
This weekend’s scheduled construction closure is the first since toll collections began Dec. 29 on the SR 520 floating bridge. In addition to state and federal gas taxes, tolls collected on the existing SR 520 bridge help fund SR 520 construction on the Eastside and a replacement floating bridge. Estimated toll revenue took into account highway closures for construction, maintenance and weather. WSDOT limits construction closures to nights and weekends to avoid disrupting weekday commute traffic and toll collections.
SR 520 closure details at a glance
· All ramps and mainline SR 520 will close between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and I-405 in Bellevue at 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13.
· The ramps and mainline SR 520 will reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16.
· The 108th Avenue Northeast on-ramp to eastbound SR 520 will remain open to drivers.
· Two sections of SR 520 remain open to traffic: I-5 to Montlake Boulevard, and east of I-405.
Closure information and detour maps are online. Night work is planned and residents near the work zone are likely to hear construction noise. Weekend closure details are available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/WeekendClosures.
Special I-90 and I-5 express lane operations
Saturday, Jan. 14
· The I-90 express lanes will be open westbound from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, and eastbound after 3 p.m.
· The I-5 express lanes will be open southbound from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan 14, and will then switch to northbound from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 15
· The I-90 express lanes will be open westbound from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, and eastbound after 3 p.m.
· The I-5 express lanes will be open southbound 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, and northbound 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The typical express lane schedule is posted online, as well as this weekend’s altered schedule. Key alternate routes for drivers heading to Seattle from the south end include State Routes 509 and 599, East Marginal Way South, Airport Way South and Fourth Avenue South. Express lane details can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/King/ExpressLanes/SpecialEvents.
SR 520 Eastside project overview
The Eastside Transit and HOV Project will widen SR 520 to six lanes from Medina to Bellevue. The project includes rebuilding interchanges, building highway lids and transit stops in the center of the highway and installing fish-passable culverts. WSDOT awarded the $306 million design-build contract to Eastside Corridor Constructors (ECC), a joint venture of Granite Construction Company and PCL Construction Services.
Complete SR 520 highway construction closures are limited during the next two years. The completed corridor from Medina to Bellevue is scheduled to open to traffic in December 2013.