It’s no surprise that whenever we have to take away lanes on a roadway, traffic will back up and there will be delays. We’ve looked at what the backups are going to be when we reduce southbound I-5 to two lanes for five weekends: three in July in SeaTac and Des Moines and two in August in Tukwila.
It’s going to be rough during the #SouthKingSlowdown, even with drivers using alternate routes like I-405 and state routes 99, 167 and 509. We will need everyone’s help to try to keep congestion from turning from a manageable backup to a nightmare weekend drive.
|State routes 99, 167 and 509 or I-405 can help|
you get around the #SouthKingSlowdown
What to expect
We are going to see major traffic challenges each of these weekends, with backups potentially reaching several miles. Drivers should allow at least an extra hour of travel time between Seattle and the city of SeaTac between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. We also expect additional congestion on the alternate routes.
These estimates are based on 35 percent of drivers doing something different – delaying trips, using transit, carpools or vanpools or using other highways. That’s what we often see for a project like this. If more drivers use alternatives, backups and delays will be shorter, if not, well, we’ll see longer delays.
What can you do?
If you use southbound I-5 between Seattle and south King County, it’s time to start planning, especially if you’re going somewhere and you have to be on time – say, Sea-Tac International Airport. Whether you’re picking up someone or heading out on vacation yourself, being late to the airport can be a problem.
Here are some tips:
- Allow plenty of time. Check WSDOT’s Mobile app and traffic maps. Follow @wsdot_traffic on Twitter.
- Plan to use alternate routes like SR 99 or SR 509.
- Take transit – Link light rail provides a more predictable trip than I-5 likely will on these weekends.
If your destination is somewhere other than the airport, these options can work as well. Also consider adjusting the time you travel (early or late are usually better bets), or stay close to home during the closures when possible.
There are other alternate routes to avoid southbound I-5 as well. From Renton you can go south on SR 167 and SR 99 works for people in Tukwila. In either case you can rejoin I-5 using either SR 516 or SR 18.
The bottom line is you need to plan ahead. We understand this is going to be hard on a lot of drivers, but this work must be done. I-5 is 50 years old; it was designed for 25 years. A few weekends of pain now will result in decades of a functional interstate.