Friday, March 21, 2014

Advice from the afternoon @wsdot_traffic gal could save you from spring fever this weekend

By Harmony Haveman Weinberg, aka @wsdot_traffic afternoon gal

Hooray! Spring has officially arrived! However, that excitement could turn into a headache if you do not plan ahead for some major traffic impacts this weekend. There are so many closures to tell you about, it’s tough to do in more than 140 characters.  But, I’ve got you covered. We’ll get through this together.

Closure hot spots include I-5, I-405 and SR 99:

Let’s take a look at the big picture. There are closures happening throughout the weekend on three major roadways in the area. Click on the map to the right to get a good idea of where you can expect to see backups and added congestion.

Now let’s divulge into the nitty-gritty details.

Here’s what’s closed:

I-5 in Seattle

Mercer Street ramps to I-5

  • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday - The City of Seattle will close the Mercer Street on-ramps to both north and southbound I-5 to install traffic detection equipment.

SR 99 closures in Seattle

  • 11 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday - All southbound lanes of SR 99 will be closed between Valley and Thomas Streets for girder settings as part of the City of Seattle’s Mercer Corridor project.
  • 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday - All lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed between South Spokane Street and the Battery Street Tunnel for bridge inspection.

I-405 closure in Bellevue

  • 11 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday - Eastside drivers will need to use alternate exits on I-405 to reach downtown Bellevue as the southbound off-ramp to Northeast Eighth Street will be closed all weekend for drainage and barrier work.

Heaviest traffic backups

Since I watch traffic every weekday afternoon to bring you the most up to date information, I have a good idea of what you can expect this weekend. Westbound I-90 coming into Seattle will get backed up. That said, the westbound I-90 express lanes will be open to help alleviate some of the congestion.

Going shopping? If you plan to join me in finding some good sales this weekend in Bellevue, expect heavy backups on southbound I-405. The ramp to Northeast 8th Street will be closed. You will want to take the Northeast 4th Street exit instead. Northbound I-405 drivers will want to take the Northeast 8th Street off-ramp, because that part will still be open.

Heading northbound I-5 into Seattle? You will see backups too. Our brilliant traffic engineers point out this can be a heavy travel spot even without lane closures. Drivers could start to see slowdowns at Boeing Field. The I-5 express lanes will help ease up some of the backups.

What *YOU* can do

  • Delay or combine your trips if possible.
  • Carpool or take public transit.
  • Follow us on Twitter! We will be working throughout the weekend! Our team will stay on top of the traffic conditions.
  • Get the app!
  • Most importantly – be informed about the closures and plan your weekend around them.