Monday, August 24, 2015

The Bothell Braids Untangled: Understanding the new I-405/160th interchange

 By Caitlin Morris

A new day, a new way

The braided ramp system in Bothell is nearing completion.
On the morning of August 31, Bothell drivers who haven’t had their first cup of coffee could find themselves headed for a surprise as they attempt to enter northbound Interstate 405 from Northeast 160th Street. Currently, drivers are using a temporary ramp located on the south side of Northeast160th Street. But Monday morning, drivers will notice the temporary ramp has been replaced by the new braided ramp system on the north side of the road.

What’s going on here? Currently, on an average weekday, the 30,000 drivers who take northbound I-405 to State Route 522 must weave between 12,000 drivers entering northbound I-405 from Northeast160th Street. Throughout the day, those 42,000 cars vying for room cause unnecessary traffic and delays. The new braided ramp system will separate drivers heading to SR 522 from those heading to northbound I-405, eliminating the need to weave and ensuring a safer, more efficient trip.

Weekend closures ahead

With the new braided ramp system, drivers
entering State Route 522 from northbound
I-405 can bypass drivers entering
I-405 from NE 160th Street.
To open the new braided ramp system, crews will close a series of I-405 ramps and lanes between Northeast 124th and SR 522 the weekend of August 28-31. To prepare for the closure, we suggest drivers plan ahead and take alternate routes (pdf 2 mb).

After Monday, drivers may also want to allow extra time to adjust to the new on- and off-ramp arrangement. Folks on northbound I-405 will have to exit a little earlier to take SR 522, because the new ramp will begin just under the NE 160th Street overpass.

If you’re entering the system from Northeast 160th Street, you will have to choose ahead of time whether you want to continue to northbound I-405 or drive directly to SR 522.

What’s a braided ramp?

 While the word braid is associated with knots, this ramp configuration is given its name because of its resemblance to braided hair from an aerial view. Braided ramps actually eliminate lines on entrance ramps by decreasing traffic weaving. Braided ramp systems also improve safety for drivers. Studies on a San Antonio highway showed that separating drivers reduced crash frequencies by 71 percent.

We now interrupt this blog post to bring you information on the I-405 express toll lanes…coming this September

We need to set aside the braided ramps for a moment to tell you about another key component of the Bellevue to Lynwood Widening and Express Toll Lane project. You guessed it, express toll lanes. They are coming in September. Are you Good To Go? Do you have a Flex Pass or even know what a Flex Pass is? We’ll break it all down for you at GoodToGo405.org and tell you how to prepare.

And now back to your braided ramps messaging…

Don’t’ forget, it’s “a new day, a new way” Monday morning on August 31!

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there a new "Brickyard Freeway Station" for buses to stop at alongside the new Northbound ramp from 160th? Or will buses continue to be routed through Brickyard Park and Ride?

Anonymous said...

You mean after August 30th I don't have to listen to the construction throughout the night anymore? I also won't be taking my life in my hands getting on northbound 405 at 160th Street? What a HUGE relief. I've been getting on at either 124th or 195th to avoid the stress and possible accident. Can't wait for this to open!

Anonymous said...

Please put a map of the braids on this page. How can I understand it from a verbal description and photos of construction work?

WSDOT said...

Thank you for brining that to our attention. We’ve updated the post to include a diagram. Also, for full details and diagrams of the new configuration, visit the project website.

WSDOT said...

In response to the first comment, we appreciate your patience during construction. Glad to hear you’ll be able to return to your normal commute!

Anonymous said...

I entered the freeway from 160th to I405N this morning and you need to place better signage for cars traveling from the west end. Many cars missed the sign and quickly stopped in the middle of the road to change two lanes over to the left side entrance.

Anonymous said...

The merge transition lane entrance from NE160th onto I405N is too short. It should be longer like the Bellevue one. Cars this morning were not courteous and did not let me merge. When I was finally able to merge the cars in that lane were at a dead stop before the bridge so I pretty much had to slam on my brakes to avoid an accident. The transition this morning felt like traffic was worse than before the braid system.

Anonymous said...

No one has to "let you merge". Look it up. It's your job driving to merge at speed. The car or truck driving on the freeway has every right to drive in their lane.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for details about this project in the past year, but was never able to find it on http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects, could WSDOT let me know how we can find it on the website?

Anonymous said...

Where can I find out more about this on http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/?

WSDOT said...

We're happy to help. The Bothell Braids are a part of the I-405 - NE 6th to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes project. If you want to learn more about the braids, our folio has more information.

Anonymous said...

The problem with 'merge' onto freeway is the limited amount of lane available that wadot has provided. Why are some lane merge longer or shorter than others? Some have good visibilty of current traffic to merge appropriately and some do not (long dagger vs no/short dagger). In traffic situation it is diffcult to merge without near miss collisions. I understand the 'right to drive in lane' bit but see that it is not followed on daily basis especially at rush hour when cars merge before they are supposed to or wait till the very end and cut off drivers in the 'right' lane.

WSDOT said...

In response to the fifth comment, thanks for the suggestion. We have placed two large message signs for drivers travelling east on NE 160th Street near the Brickyard Park and Ride. We will review their locations to make sure they are visible and make adjustments as necessary. Typically, it takes drivers time to adjust to new configurations so we suggest you proceed with caution through the new intersection and to your destination.

Anonymous said...

The exit to 522 is awful! Design fine....surface and smoothness, absolutely terrible!!! BTW, to the previous blogger, it is incumbent on both the merger and the person on the freeway to allow a smooth merge. Look it up. If the person on the freeway doesn't allow someone to merge, regardless of speed, they are at fault if an accident occurs.

Anonymous said...

The surface of the roadway exit to 522 FROM 405 is terrible! Incredibly rough...WSDOT should drive it and make corrections. HOW MUCH WAS SPENT?!

WSDOT said...

In response to the comments about paving on SR 522, thanks for sharing your concerns about the SR 522 exit from northbound I-405. Crews are still completing barrier work near the SR 522 exit ramp so the area can’t be completely paved until that barrier work is complete. While paving is weather dependent, crews expect the road to be smooth by mid-September. Until then, we urge you to slow down and use caution in the area. Thank you for your patience!

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me when will the crosswalks and sidewalk on the west side of NE 160th St off of I405 open? There is no crosswalk across the entrance ramp onto northbound 405, (now, there was before this change), but there are crosswalk lights that are hooded.
continuing along the sidewalk at the top of the southbound exit ramp from I405 onto NE 160th St, the crosswalk lights are hooded as well. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Should have completely finished the barrier work near the SR522 exit ramp before opening up the I405/160th Bothell Braid. Again, since barrier is there it makes the merge transition entering freeway difficult. The entrance ramp is nice and long and smooth but then the actual area to merge seems short due to barrier. Will it be modified once barrier work is completed to make that transition longer?

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your question regarding the barrier work near the SR 522 Exit ramp. We appreciate your patience while final work in the area is completed. This will be done by late September. After evaluating options for opening, WSDOT’s contractor decided to complete this work in phases using evening and weekend closures. This approach avoided a three week closure of the SR 522 and NE 160th ramps that would have been necessary to complete the barrier work prior to opening the new braided ramps.

WSDOT said...

Regarding the question about the crosswalks at NE 160th Street, we are happy to let you know that yesterday our crews unveiled the crosswalk signals at that intersection. Pedestrians should now have an easier time getting through the area. We wish you a safe commute!

Anonymous said...

Replying to the below comment:

I did see a covered bus stop on the northbound 405 on-ramp "north of 160th St" which is probably what the "rider alert" was referring to. I would hope this is the new northbound stop for the 535 route for those who park at the brickyard P&R when heading southbound to Bellevue in the morning. Currently the bus takes a left on NE 160th St and snakes into the P*R Southbound stop and drops off then snakes back onto NE 160th St and then a left onto 405 to head towards Canyon Park/Cascadia etc.

The downside is folks will have to crosswalk twice and over the bridge to get to their cars on the commute home so if time is an issue account for about 10 minutes walking back to the Brickyard P&R.









Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is there a new "Brickyard Freeway Station" for buses to stop at alongside the new Northbound ramp from 160th? Or will buses continue to be routed through Brickyard Park and Ride?

August 27, 2015 at 1:28:00 PM PDT

Anonymous said...

I wrote earlier asking when the crosswalks on the west side of NE 160th at both the entrance onto northbound 405 and the exit from southbound 405, would be open.

The crosswalks are painted on the road, but the crosswalk signals still are not turned on. This means someone walking cannot use that west sidewalk, when will the signals be turned on and people be able to use the west side walk. It is inconvenient for someone who is walking on the west sidewalk to have to cross to the east sidewalk and then cross back to the west sidewalk and time consuming. PLEASE TURN THE CROSS WALK SIGNALS ON.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for alerting us to this problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and are currently working to get the signals up and running. We will update you as soon as possible.

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