Monday, August 24, 2020

Your road map to navigating the upcoming I-5 overnight closures

By Nick VinZant

A five-mile stretch of our busiest highway is closing for two consecutive nights this coming weekend – Aug. 28 and 29 – and we want everyone to be as prepared as possible. During the work, crews will close both directions of I-5 so they can safely install supersized bridge girders for a new bridge in Fife. The highway will close overnight on both Friday and Saturday between Fife and Federal Way. Backups could be significant. How significant? The answer depends on what drivers do. Our best advice is to avoid I-5 between Seattle and Olympia before, during and after the closure hours, if possible. If that's not an option, the information below will help you navigate your trip.
Crews will transport and install massive girders for a new bridge over I-5 in Fife
during upcoming overnight weekend closures.

First, the basics

Both directions of I-5 close from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. between 54th Avenue East in Fife and SR 18 in Federal Way on Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 29. Lots of heavy equipment must move on and off the highway for the bridge work, so crews will start closing lanes around 8 p.m. both nights. After the roadway reopens by 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, there will be lane closures in place until about noon. Ramps to and from I-5 will also be closed during the work.

Avoid backups

There's never a good time to close I-5. But by scheduling the heavy lifting overnight, we are trying to minimize delays as much as possible. Still, it's best to avoid I-5 between Seattle and Olympia during the work hours, if possible. If you must travel, consider using the SR 167/SR 512 detour. It's longer, but it might save time as these roads can handle more traffic than the SR 99 detour. The SR 99 detour is designed for those traveling to Tacoma or SR 16. However, if everyone uses the SR 99 detour, the risks of long backups increase.
I-5 in Fife will be fully closed overnight on Aug. 28 and 29 as part of a new bridge project.

On-ramps and off-ramps

There will be ramp closures associated with the highway closure, including ramps that must be used to transport the 220-foot-long girders from Concrete Technology Corp. in Tacoma where they were made, to the new 70th Avenue Bridge site in Fife.
Several on and off ramps will close as part of the overnight I-5 closures in Fife Aug. 28 and 29.

The bottom line

  • A five-mile stretch of I-5 will close between the I-5 / 54th Avenue East interchange in Fife and the I-5 / SR 18 interchange in Federal Way
Closure times
  • Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 29
    • Lanes begin closing at 8 p.m.
    • 11 p.m. – 8 a.m.- full closure
    • Lanes begin opening at 8 a.m.
    • I-5 fully open by noon
Ramp Closures

Southbound I-5 to Port of Tacoma Road off-ramp
  • Aug. 28
    • 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.
  • Aug. 29
    • 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
54th Avenue East to northbound I-5 on-ramp
  • Aug. 28
    • 7 p.m. – 9 a.m.
  • Aug. 29
    • 8 p.m. – 10.a.m.
Eastbound SR 18 to southbound I-5 on-ramp
  • Aug. 28
    • 10 p.m. – 8 a.m.
  • Aug. 29
    • 11 p.m. – 9.a.m.
Westbound SR 18 to Southbound I-5 on-ramp
  • Aug. 28
    • 10 p.m. – 8 a.m.
  • Aug. 29
    • 11 p.m. – 9.a.m.
Additional lane closures after bridge installation
  • Aug. 31 – Sept. 3
    • Once the girders are installed, we will need to close lanes of I-5 to prepare the bridge for the next step in the construction process.
    • Two lanes in each direction will be closed immediately north and south of the new 70th Avenue Bridge in Fife
      • I-5 northbound: 7 p.m. – 4 a.m.
      • I-5 southbound: 9:30 p.m. – 6 a.m.