Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What is so rare as a day in June? A weekend without a major event or SR 520 construction closure or both

By Ethan Bergerson

To paraphrase James Russell Lowell, it will be a rare day in June that won’t have a graduation, festival, construction closure, concert or sporting event. Wherever you look, wherever you listen, traffic will be bustling as folks get to their destinations. We encourage everyone to stay engaged and plan ahead to get around all the busy weekends.

There’s never a good time for road closures. And with so many events happening over the summer, scheduling any closure is especially tough. We do our best to work around big events, but that’s not always possible. So what do we do? We work with you to make sure you have time to plan your trips around the closure and know your alternate routes.

June 5-8: Eastbound SR 520 Bridge Closure

All eastbound lanes of the State Route 520 bridge will be closed between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast from 11 p.m. Friday, June 5, to 5 a.m. Monday, June 8. Please refer to the closure graphic to view which lanes and ramps will be open. Fans headed east after seeing Mariners vs. Rays, Storm vs. Sparks, or Shania Twain over the weekend of June 5 - 8 should plan to use Interstate 90 or another route around Lake Washington.

When the bridge reopens, drivers will see new toll equipment and rate signs on SR 520 near 84th Avenue Northeast. Although drivers will see flashing lights and sign displays before it goes live later this year, it’s only in test mode for now. The equipment will not charge any tolls; drivers won’t be tolled twice.

The toll collection point needs to be moved to an interim location to make room for construction activities as crews go into the next phase of work to prepare for opening the new floating bridge in 2016. We won’t use this new location to charge SR 520 tolls until we turn off equipment at the bridge’s trestle later this year, but we need to begin testing now so that we can make sure it’s ready to use later this year. Once the SR 520 bridge construction is complete, the toll equipment will move a final time its permanent location closer to the water.

June 12-15: Graduates, marathoners, soccer fans and a SR 520 ramp closure

A single lane of eastbound SR 520 and the 84th Avenue Northeast off-ramp will be closed intermittently from 11 p.m. Friday, June 12 through 5 a.m. Monday, June 15.

The future is bright the weekend of June 12-15 as the University of Washington, Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University all celebrate graduations; the Sounders face off against Dallas; and the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon courses through Seattle. Grads, families, fans, and everyone else will need to make a plan to navigate traffic. Public transit may be a good option for you to get where you need to go with less hassle.

The eastbound 84th Avenue Northeast off-ramp and the adjacent general purpose lane will be closed during the nighttime hours and during parts of the day this weekend, but crews installing the new toll equipment will open all eastbound lanes in the afternoons to help everyone get home a little sooner. All eastbound lanes will be open from 1:30 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, while the eastbound 84th Ave Northeast off-ramp will remain closed all weekend.

June 26- 29: Full SR 520 Bridge Closure During Pride Weekend

The last weekend in June brings a full closure of SR 520 where crews will complete critical work to connect the new temporary westbound off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard from the existing westbound lanes and install new toll equipment near 84th Avenue Northeast. Crews will close the existing lanes to protect the travelling public, ensure the safety of our crews, and create a work zone where we can pour new concrete so that the concrete can be set and cured with minimal disturbance.

Starting at 11 p.m. Friday, June 26, until 5 a.m. Monday, June 29 crews will close the eastbound lanes between I-5 in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast on the Eastside; westbound lanes will be closed between 92nd Avenue Northeast and Montlake Boulevard. Please refer to the closure graphic for an illustration of which ramps will be open during this closure.

Due to a full calendar of events this summer, there are a limited number of weekend when crews are permitted to close all lanes of traffic in order to safely complete a large amount of critical construction work. We understand Seattle Pride events are scheduled for the June 27 and 28 weekend. We’re working with the Seattle Pride weekend event organizers to coordinate our communication and outreach efforts prior to the events so participants can plan their travel accordingly. We encourage travelers to plan ahead during this busy weekend and use alternative options like I-90, transit and carpools.