On February 21 we announced a 24/7 closure of several lanes of northbound I-5 from Aug. 10 to Aug. 29. During these closures crews will replace failing bridge expansion joints and repave the freeway from Spokane Street to I-90 just south of downtown Seattle. And on top of that we'll periodically close ramps in the project area, including the on-ramp from Spokane Street and the exit to I-90.
As you know, this is one of the busiest section of I-5 in the state and the closures could create monstrous backups. While we are working with local communities, businesses and transit agencies to help keep traffic moving during construction, we expect lengthy backups and significant delays.
We can only do so much to keep traffic moving. The math is pretty simple. During the first half of the 19-days we expect to close two of five lanes, cutting freeway capacity by 40 percent. In the second half we'll close three of five lanes, shrinking capacity by 6o percent. We need a corresponding amount of drivers to divert off I-5 just to get to normal traffic conditions. Throw in an collision or two or a stalled vehicle during the morning rush hour and that equation goes out the window. And don't forget the city streets and other alternate routes. They could be jammed as well.
The bottom line is, we're in this together and we need your help to get through these 19 days in August. We announced these closures six months in advance so drivers, transit users, businesses and other organizations have time to prepare for what's coming.
Below we've listed some of the steps drivers can start taking today to ease your commute and help other drivers. If you're a driver, what ideas work for you?
- Plan a vacation between Aug. 10-29
- Consider arrangements to carpool or vanpool
- Practice taking the bus or train
- Make arrangements to work from home or alternate worksite
- Discuss altering your work schedule to come in earlier or later than normal
- Try alternate routes
- Keep up to date on the project by subscribing to WSDOT’s I-5 Seattle E-mail Alerts and by bookmarking WSDOT’s project Web page
Employer and organizations who rely on workers starting on time or can't afford packages and shipments showing up late also need to get ready. Think about what steps you can take and let us know what you're going to do.
We'll keep this blog alive through construction. We'll post regular updates, answer your questions and listen to your suggestions. We'll also be updating the project Web page regularly. For example, we just posted a Frequently Asked Questions page. There you will learn more about why this work is necessary, why a 19 -day closure is the smart choice and much, much more.