Thursday, May 24, 2018

Full closure of northbound I-5 at the West Seattle Bridge June 1-4

By Lisa Van Cise

As you're making plans for your holiday road trip this Memorial Day weekend, we also want you to think ahead to next weekend, June 1-4, because road construction to Revive I-5 in Seattle will be back in a big way.

This work includes two weekends of a full closure of northbound I-5 at the West Seattle Bridge. The full closures of the freeway allow crews to complete work equal to several partial closures in just one weekend.

Completely closing northbound I-5 will also allow the contractor access to 14 of the 37 expansion joints located in a very tight space, with limited shoulder widths and large machinery. Unlike previous weekends with partial lane closures, there's simply not enough room in this section of I-5 to replace the old expansion joints while keeping lanes open for travelers.

Northbound I-5 will begin narrowing to two lanes at 8 p.m. Friday, June 1, near Southcenter as we also repair expansion joints at the Duwamish River in order to combine work and reduce the number of weekends of lane closures on this major north-south route. The second weekend closure is tentatively scheduled for Friday night, July 13 to Monday morning, July 16. The weekend work is weather dependent which means rain could postpone the closures.
Photo that shows contractor crews tearing up old concrete from above
View from above: contractor crews tear up old concrete on northbound I-5
in Seattle during the May 19-20 weekend closure.

Regional traffic backups 8 p.m. Friday, June 1 to 5 a.m. Monday, June 4
If your quest for fun involves a trip on northbound I-5 through Seattle (or really anywhere in the greater Puget Sound region), you're going to need to plan for major region-wide travel delays. We know this is a inconvenience and will create a challenge to get around. Here's some suggestions on how to prepare:
  • Know what you're getting yourself into before you leave. This is a major closure that will affect people who use northbound I-5 and beyond. Let's think about the ripple effect: Some will decide to wade through the backups, but others will use alternate routes. Enter state routes 18, 99, 167, 509, 599, 520 and I-405 and I-90. During our May 18-21 partial closure of northbound I-5, we saw backups of 7 miles or more on both I-5 and I-405. City streets also see significant congestion as folks try to sneak around the backups.
  • Be a helper. The more people who carpool, use transit or delay discretionary trips, the more manageable the backups and delays will be. We recognize it's not possible for everyone to use transit or delay trips, but everyone who can helps those who can't.
  • Be prepared. Check ahead before you get behind the wheel. Bookmark our Seattle area traffic page, download our app and follow us on Twitter for the very latest travel conditions. 
There's no way around it, things are going to be a big challenge. But planning ahead should help take some of the sting out of it. Thank you, as always, for your patience as we complete this critical work on I-5.