Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Innovation loops drivers around I-405 construction zone

By guest blogger Anne Broache

If you’ve ever struggled to navigate the congested area where northbound Interstate 405 meets State Route 522 in the Bothell area, rest assured that improvements are on the way. As part of the I-405 NE 6th Street to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes Project, our project crew will add a new set of ramps—called “braided ramps”—that separate traffic going from Northeast 160th Street to northbound I-405 from I-405 traffic heading to SR 522.

But before we can make this upgrade, we had to innovate to keep ramp traffic—some 13,000 vehicles daily—moving through the braided ramp construction area. To avoid repeated shutdowns of this critical on-ramp, our contractor worked this summer to build a temporary loop ramp to northbound I-405 at NE 160th Street. We’ll be able to route traffic around the construction rather than through it.

We’ll soon be ready to open that new ramp and shut down the current one.

New I-405 on-ramp at NE 160th Street opens September 8
Starting as soon as Sunday, September 8, drivers will access the on-ramp to northbound I-405 from the south side of NE 160th Street, just east of I-405 and adjacent to the northbound off-ramp from I-405.

The new entrance will be located directly across NE 160th Street from the existing on-ramp entrance, as shown in the map below.

New temporary on-ramp to I-405
The on-ramp you’re accustomed to using will remain closed until the new braided ramps open in 2015.

This temporary on-ramp has clear advantages:
  • It creates a dedicated work zone for our crews. By shifting traffic off the existing on-ramp, we can give crews full access to work on the new ramps in a space without public access.
  • It prevents major traffic interruptions. The temporary on-ramp will allow us to provide consistent northbound I-405 access instead of making multiple changes to the existing on-ramp as construction reaches different phases.
  • It’s the neighborly thing to do. Maintaining access to I-405 around the work zone allows more construction activities to happen during daytime hours, reducing nighttime noise for neighbors.
Allow extra travel time when the new ramp opens
As with any new roadway configuration, drivers should allow extra time to navigate and approach the new on-ramp—especially in the first few weeks while drivers get used to the new arrangement. Opening the new temporary ramp depends on good weather, and we’ll be sure to update drivers if the schedule changes.  

Want more information?
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Anonymous said...

Since the recent change of the northbound 405 ramp, things have become extremely dangerous on this overpass. The issue is the HOV only left turn lane from NE 160th to 405 north. If I need to get on 405 south, I leave 116th Ave NE, cross five lanes of traffic to get into the far right lane and then attempt to come two lanes to the left once I'm past the light. I say attempt, as every single time that I've attempted this since the ramp change, there have been numerous cars driving straight through the HOV left turn only lane. On at least five occasions so far, there has been so many cars going straight through the HOV left turn only lane, that I've had to turn around at the P&R on the other side of 405.

Please remove this HOV left turn lane immediately and make it a straight through lane before someone gets seriously injured or killed. I'm astonished at how dangerous this has become.

WSDOT said...

Thanks for sharing your comments on the new configuration at NE 160th Street and I-405. We take all suggestions from the public very seriously, and I have forwarded your comments on to the project engineer and contractor responsible for this area. I can also assure you that our traffic engineers and the contractor’s engineers have been monitoring this intersection closely, making adjustments as needed, and are considering other steps to ensure we’re providing a safe and smooth travel experience for all who use this interchange.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact Steve Peer in I-405 communications directly at

Anonymous said...

I agree. I almost got side swiped last night by someone that just decided to go straight while in the new left hand turn lane. It's definitely dangerous. Supposedly it's going to be like this for over 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Is the 520 (both directions) to 405N interchange being considered for some type of mitigation or flyover? The fact that at evening rush hour (more like several hours) you have several issues causing heavy congestion:

Traffic entering 520 westbound from Northup has to fight traffic heading to 405 north and south to get onto 520. At the same time, 520W traffic is also fighting the traffic going to 405S to get over to their exit, and traffic to 405S is always backed up.

Couple this to the fact that you have traffic from E and W bound 520 merging into a single lane heading to 405N, then within another 200 feet those 2 merged lanes also merge into an existing lane of 405N traffic. This puts THREE lanes of freeway traffic merging into a SINGLE lane all within a few hundred feet. The results is actually worse than the current 522 interchange being worked on.

Anonymous said...

+1 for the above comments about traffic at 520 and 405 intersection. Is there any plan to provide relief for congestion at this intersection?

Anonymous said...

How much longer will this take? Its November 2014 now.

WSDOT said...

@Anonymous, we expect to open the new braided ramps to traffic in late 2015. Thanks for your continuing patience during construction.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous- A tired RN leaving EHMC after an evening shift can't get on 405 N to get home to N. Edmonds area! Thanks a lot!

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