Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Construction fully underway in Kirkland at I-405 and Northeast 132nd Street

By Victoria Miller

The weather is finally heating up and so is construction on Interstate 405. A lot of the work you will see along I-405 is part of the Renton to Bellevue Widening and Express Toll Lanes Project. But did you know there is another project under construction on the highway in Kirkland?

The I-405/NE 132nd St Interchange Project has been underway since this past fall when pre-construction work began. Construction ramped up in April, and in mid-May, we held a groundbreaking ceremony where we hosted Governor Jay Inslee and Deputy Secretary of Transportation Amy Scarton along with elected officials from the City of Kirkland.

This project builds a new on-ramp to northbound I-405 and a new off-ramp from southbound I-405 at Northeast 132nd Street in Kirkland. This type of interchange is known as a half-diamond. After this project is complete, travelers will have the option to access I-405 at Northeast 132nd Street, rather than traveling to the heavily congested Northeast 124th Street or Northeast 160th Street interchanges.

Shifting traffic to create safe work zones

Since the groundbreaking ceremony in May, the project has moved into its first traffic shift to create space for crews to safely begin building the new half-diamond interchange.

The current configuration in the I-405/132nd project area. A shoefly is a construction term for a temporary alignment.

If you travel in this area, please be aware of the current configuration and remember to slow down when driving through the work zone.

This first traffic shift will remain in place until fall 2023, and it is one of three traffic shifts for the project. The second traffic shift is scheduled for this October though that could change.

What other construction is happening as part of the project?

Crews have been working on utility relocations, drainage system work on Northeast 132nd Street, retaining wall construction along Northeast 132nd Street, and continual erosion control maintenance.

This summer, crews will begin in-water work and stream work, seismic retrofit work on the I-405 overpass above Northeast 132nd Street, and excavation for future ponds. In addition, crews will build a temporary alignment on 116th Avenue Northeast.

Construction of a new noise wall is one of several other parts of the I-405 project.

This fall, crews will install part of the new fish culvert, implement the project’s second traffic shift, move 116th Avenue Northeast to a temporary alignment, continue wall construction, demolish the existing noise wall, begin building a new noise wall, and begin grading for the future on-ramp and off-ramp.

What environmental enhancements is the project making?

While the main purpose of the project is to build a new interchange with roundabouts and enhance multimodal travel on the local road, there are also several environmental improvements happening.

One of the larger environmental enhancements is to remove a fish barrier in the project area. Crews will correct this fish barrier to create more than a half-mile of new upstream fish habitat. Another environmentally friendly aspect of this specific work is related to tree removal.

We have a robust tree-replanting policy to expand our native tree canopy while we make investments in our transportation system. We provide an incentive for the contractor to remove as few trees as possible to complete the project, especially the older more established trees. For every tree removed, we replant multiple trees in relation to the diameter of each tree being removed.

In the case of this project, some of the trees that have been taken down will be reused and incorporated into the new future stream habitat for fish.

How can I stay informed?

For more information on the I-405/NE 132nd St Interchange Project, please visit our project webpage. You can also sign up for email updates on this project by messaging us at i405sr167program@wsdot.wa.gov. That's also a good email to send us any questions you may have about the project, or you can call us at 425-224-2433.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Construction work is heating up in Clark County!

By Kayla Dunn

Like clockwork, summer sunshine in the Pacific Northwest means a ramp up in roadwork. As you hit the road this summer, you’ll need to plan ahead to avoid traffic snarls due to a number of construction projects throughout the state, including quite a few in Clark County that are upcoming on Interstate 5, I-205, State Route 500 and SR 14.

To help ensure our investments in new roadway pavement lasts, our crews need warm, dry weather, leaving us a small window of time to perform this work. We try to schedule work at night or during off-peak times, but how people drive has changed during the past couple of years. As people return to workplaces, shopping and schools, they are traveling more and driving more. We’ve seen an increase in extreme high speeds, distracted and impaired driving over the past couple of years and in response, we’re making changes to how we do business to meet our safety needs.

This summer, you’re likely to see more daytime work zones and experience longer delays in order to keep our crews and the traveling public safe. We need everyone to take care to follow speed limits, drive sober and look out for people biking and walking on and near our highways. The work this summer may create some travel delays, but with some planning and patience you’ll get to where you need to go and these improvements will last for years to come.

Here’s a look at where major roadwork will be happening over the next several months in Clark County.

I-5/I-205 – Concrete Panel Replacement and Bridge Joint Rehabilitation

Thump, thump, thump is an all too familiar sound for people who travel on I-5 and I-205 in Vancouver and Clark County due to busted concrete panels. This summer, crews will replace panels on both directions of I-205 between the Glenn Jackson Bridge and the I-5/I-205 split, and along southbound I-5 between 134th Street and 179th Street, to extend the life of the pavement. Crews will also rehab bridge joints on several bridges along I-205 to create a smoother driving surface and extend the life of the bridges.

Work zones play a crucial role in separating roadwork from traffic. They provide a safe area for workers and a safe route for all road users. For safety, we’ll reduce the speed along some stretches of I-5 and I-205 to 45 mph, and set up nighttime, single- and double-lane closures as well as close ramps.

Some of our work this summer involves repairing damaged concrete panels on I-205.

SR 500 between Northeast 162nd Avenue and Leadbetter Road Paving

A smoother ride is in store for travelers on SR 500 in Clark County as we pave almost 10 miles of the highway between Northeast 162nd Avenue and Northeast Leadbetter Road in Camas. We’re also removing passing lanes and permanently reducing the speed limit on this corridor to slow down traffic and increase safety.

Construction started on Tuesday, July 5 and is scheduled to take about two months to complete. When possible, we will schedule this work during off-peak times to minimize delays and noise impacts but be aware that this work may occur at all hours of the day. If your travels take you through this area, plan to take an alternative route or expect delays of up to 20 minutes while crews are working. Drivers accessing this area of SR 500 from driveways or side streets should pay special attention as crews will be moving traffic through the area using a pilot car.

Road crews will be working to repair damage on SR 500 this year.

SR 500 and Northeast 182nd Avenue Intersection Roundabout

We’re building a new roundabout at the intersection of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard (also known as SR 500) and Northeast 182nd Avenue to increase safety and reduce collisions in this area of East Vancouver. Plan for delays during construction while crews alternate traffic near the intersection. They’ll also need to fully close the intersection in early August for 10 consecutive days to construct the roundabout. During the total closure of this intersection, crews will install a temporary signal at Northeast 88th Street and Ward Road to help keep traffic moving through the area. Please use an alternate route or plan for long delays.

A new roundabout will be installed at the intersection of NE Fourth Plain Blvd and NE 182nd Ave.

Construction coming this fall

Later this year we’re adding new lanes of travel along a mile and a half of SR 14 between Southeast 164th Avenue and the I-205/SR 14 interchange in Vancouver to address safety, congestion, and inconsistent travel times along the corridor. In addition to new lanes in each direction, a peak-use shoulder lane will extend along a mile and a half of westbound SR 14 between Southeast 164th Avenue and I-205. This means that when traffic is heavy, westbound SR 14 travelers going to northbound I-205 will be able to use the right shoulder, creating an additional lane of travel – three lanes become four. When complete, travelers will encounter fewer backups and delays through the area. Construction could begin as soon as October and drivers will need to reduce their speed and plan ahead for possible delays.

A look at the layout for work coming to SR 14 in Vancouver.


Our maintenance crews are taking advantage of the dry, warm weather to get some much-needed paving work done as well. Crews will work on both directions of Northeast 117th Avenue, also known as SR 503, between Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and Onsdorff Boulevard, just north of the main intersection in Battle Ground. You’ll also see crews doing some pedestrian/bicycle path improvements along SR 503 near Salmon Creek and along the south side SR 500 between Northeast Andresen and Northeast Thurston Way.


Whenever you’re in a work zone please slow down to the posted speed and pay attention to signs, workers and other travelers. If you can, move over a lane to give workers more space. It’s also good to allow extra time if traveling through a construction zone. If you do face delays, remember to stay calm – it’s not worth risking someone’s life.

Traveler Tips

With so much work happening in Clark County, it’s important to check latest travel conditions before you head out. You can sign up for Clark County construction email alerts and you can get 24/7 travel information via our Twitter account. We will have more details to share in the coming weeks and months, so check for updates often.

Be sure to check with the City of Vancouver and Clark County for updates on other area road projects. As you head out to enjoy our long summer days and cool nights, please watch for signs, flaggers and pilot cars to guide you through construction zones and drive carefully! While we can’t promise a congestion-free trip, we provide lots of information to help you make informed choices to plan ahead for your travel during construction.

Navigating a Mariners win streak with a ton of needed roadwork this weekend

By Mike Allende

You’ve heard us say this before, and it holds true today – it’s impossible to completely avoid disrupting events in the Seattle area in the summer and still get important work done. There are big events basically every weekend of the summer, whether it’s a holiday weekend, Seafair, or sports events.

That’s the case this coming weekend as well.

Thanks to a 14-game winning streak, the Seattle Mariners go into a weekend series at T-Mobile Park against the first-place Houston Astros with a likely chance to sell out all three games. When our construction schedules were made – months ago – even the most optimistic Mariners fan, which I have been for 40 years, would not have expected them to be riding a 14-game win streak. Who could predict that?

While the stands were empty in this picture, the Mariner Moose and the rest of the team are expecting packed houses at T-Mobile Park this weekend as they play the Houston Astros.

And yet, here we are. We still have work we need to get done. Work that, because of the extensive concrete paving involved, can only be done when we have predictably dry, warmer weather. In our part of the world that is a very small window. The concrete needs time to cure, so it can’t all be done between midnight and 6 a.m. There isn’t enough time to avoid summer, daytime work.

Postponing the work isn’t an option. We have a full schedule of work this summer that we need to try to complete. Postponing would cost a significant amount of money and would set us far behind in our ability to make improvements to the highways and would affect work already planned for next summer. And, while disruptive now, all of this work will help improve overall travel throughout the area for years to come.

Contractors on the Revive I-5 project have fully replaced 15 expansion joints so far, and partially replaced nine others. Work continues pretty much every weekend into September.

Because we know there are a lot of people headed to the stadium – including me – along with other events around the area, and because we know we have to get this work done, we do the best we can to let people know about it ahead of time so they can make plans. Those plans may include taking public transit, setting up carpools or planning to leave earlier than normal.

What is happening this weekend?

  • Revive I-5 work will be happening once again as we continue replacing expansion joints. Southbound I-5 traffic between I-90 and the West Seattle Bridge will be re-directed into the collector-distributor lanes at about 7:30 p.m. Friday – after the Mariners game starts – until 5 a.m. Monday. This will add delays so everyone who can divert from the area helps others make it through more easily.
  • Southbound I-5 will be fully closed between Stewart and Spring streets, with lanes starting to close at 9 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday for some significant maintenance work.
  • Two right lanes of northbound I-5 will be closed from SR 520 to NE 45th Street from 11 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday for maintenance on the Ship Canal Bridge. The I-5 express lanes will run northbound all weekend except from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday when they will be southbound.
  • SR 18 will be fully closed between I-90 and Issaquah-Hobart Road for a variety of work including extensive maintenance.
  • These closures and work will affect congestion and cause delays, so everyone who can divert from the areas helps others make it through more easily.
SR 18 will be fully closed for most of the day Saturday between I-90 and Issaquah-Hobart Road as we’ll squeeze several different projects into one day of work.

This is going to be a challenge. We get that. If there was a way to do this work without disrupting events, we’d do it. But there isn’t, and so we are doing the best we can to get the word out so Mariners fans and all other travelers can plan ahead to be sure they get where they’re going in plenty of time to not miss their events.

We appreciate you understanding the challenges we face getting our roadwork done within a small weather window, and we’ll continue to keep you in the loop of upcoming closures.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Breaking ground and putting down roots on the next stage of SR 167 construction

By Lizzy Buechel

When you hear about a “groundbreaking” you might picture dignitaries with golden shovels digging into a large mound of dirt. On July 8, our Puget Sound Gateway Program took a different approach to commemorate the start of construction on the next stage of the SR 167 Completion Project, inviting partners to show off their green thumbs and pot an assortment of bare root plants.

Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar and other members of the Puget Sound Gateway program pot plants that will go in the Riparian Restoration Program at the
recent groundbreaking for the project.

The potted vine maple, cascara, flowering currant, and western red cedar will be the first of more than 430,000 plants that will reinvigorate wetlands, improve flood plains, and provide critical habitat to wildlife on 150 acres around Hylebos Creek and Surprise Lake tributaries near the Interurban Trailhead in Fife. As these plants continue to grow and thrive, they will be among the first to inhabit the Riparian Restoration Program area. We will build the Riparian Restoration Program along with other project elements including a new two-mile expressway from I-5 to SR 509, a new interchange at I-5, and a new shared-use path for people who bike, walk and roll.

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Dick Marzano pots native plants as part of the SR 167 Riparian Restoration Program

In his remarks before the planting, Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar explained how the completion of SR 167 and the overarching Puget Sound Gateway Program will “improve freight mobility on the West Coast of the United States by providing a direct access from the Interstate system to the Port [while] restoring wildlife habitat including streams, stream banks and wetlands, and returning over 116 acres of land to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians to steward for generations to come.”

You can hear more of what our speakers at the groundbreaking said by checking out our video.

Construction comes to I-5 in Fife

As early as July 25, we will begin work on I-5 between Wapato Way East and Porter Way in Fife for lane re-striping to set up construction work zones for the project. At 7 p.m. Monday, July 25, we will begin closing four of the five northbound lanes on I-5 and begin re-opening lanes at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday. At 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, crews will begin closing four of the five lanes on southbound I-5 and begin re-opening lanes by 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

When the lanes re-open, people traveling on I-5 in this area can expect reduced lane widths that shift towards the median in both directions. rivers, especially freight haulers, should anticipate the narrower lanes and shoulders. To allow for the safety of our crews and the traveling public, we encourage drivers to reduce speeds to 50 mph in the construction work zone. The narrower lanes will be in place until 2025. Please be cautious and slow down as you move through the area.

Fife Deputy Mayor Dee-Dee Gethers shows off her green thumb preparing native plants at our recent SR 167 groundbreaking event. This marks the start of four years of work making improvements to the SR 167 corridor.

Other work this summer

Crews will begin working at night to haul soil for filling, compacting, and re-grading the area near 20th Street East and Wapato Way East, also known as embankment work, to prepare for the new SR 167 Expressway between I-5 and SR 509 near the Port of Tacoma. We expect this nighttime work to last until fall 2022. Crews will continue daytime embankment and other earthwork into 2023.

People traveling near this area may see increased construction truck traffic at night. There will be bright construction lights in the work zone. People living near this area may hear construction noise from heavy machinery, digging, scrapping, and unloading materials. Earplugs, white noise machines, and blackout curtains may offer relief to those sensitive to construction noise and light.

We expect to wrap up most of the construction work by late 2026.

Fish bearing streams under State Routes 302 and 16 in Pierce County getting a makeover

By Cara Mitchell

Two multi-year projects to improve fish habitat in both Little Minter Creek and Purdy Creek in the Key Peninsula will cross paths this summer. While one project is finishing up, the other is getting started.

This work opens up access to important spawning and rearing habitat to more salmon and steelhead at all life stages. This includes areas that have not been accessed in years. Our efforts to correct fish passage barriers in places like Little Minter Creek and Purdy Creek are making an important contribution to salmon and steelhead recovery in Washington state.

Both projects require some temporary detours, closures and traffic shifts that Pierce and Kitsap County travelers will want to plan for. Here are the details:

SR 302 Little Minter Creek

An old box culvert in Little Minter Creek

Work to finish correcting barriers to fish under State Route 302 in Little Minter Creek will begin in late-July. This project, which also corrected outdated culverts at nearby Minter Creek, began in Spring 2019. Starting the week of July 25, drivers will see one-lane alternating traffic on SR 302 near 118th Avenue Northwest and 123rd Avenue Northwest from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Crews are also allowed to work overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Long-term closure of SR 302

A longer around-the-clock closure of a portion of SR 302 is scheduled early to mid-August. This will allow crews to install two new culverts in Little Minter Creek under SR 302 between 123rd Avenue Northwest and 118th Avenue Northwest. Passenger vehicles will follow a local signed detour. Oversized trucks and semi-trucks will follow a detour using SR 16 and SR 3 through Belfair. We will announce the closure dates on the project website once the contractor schedule is finalized.

On the left is the detour passenger vehicles will take during the SR 302 closure,
and on the right is the detour for freight traffic

Once the longer closure is over, alternating one-way traffic will resume until the project is finished. Work to restore Little Minter Creek is expected to finish in early fall.

SR 16/SR 302 Spur at Purdy Creek

Purdy Creek under the SR 302 Spur

Earlier this year, Kraemer North America was awarded the contract to remove old culverts that are barriers to fish in Purdy Creek. The work will take place under two busy state highways – SR 302 Spur and 16. The contractor will replace the culverts with new bridges. Doing this work will require a long-term detour set up for SR 302 Spur, also known as Purdy Drive, and some shifted lanes on both directions of SR 16.

On Monday, Aug. 1, paving will begin on Purdy Lane Northwest from 144th Street Northwest to the SR 302 Spur. Purdy Lane Northwest will be used as the detour for an entire year while crews remove the old culvert under SR 302 Spur. The old culvert will be replaced with a 77-foot-long bridge.

The detour on Purdy Lane Northwest will be in place from early September 2022 until August 2023. No parking will be allowed along the detour during this time. To help keep traffic moving, the detour route will have a temporary signal in place at the intersection of 144th Street Northwest and Purdy Lane Northwest.

The detour route for the work near SR 302 Purdy Creek

Improvements to Purdy Creek are also happening under both directions of SR 16. Only one direction at a time will be constructed, with the first being westbound starting in late September and continuing until summer 2023. Construction on the eastbound direction of SR 16 will take place from summer 2023 to summer 2024. During this time, SR 16 travelers will see a reduced speed limit and shifted lanes through the work zone.

Why do these projects take so long?

Improving stream habitat for fish takes time, and each project is unique. We work closely with the Department of Fish and Wildlife on fish passage projects. During construction, they guide us on when we can allow crews to be in the water to remove the old stuff and put the new stuff in without stressing out the fish. These timeframes are called “fish windows” or “in-water work”. These “fish windows” set the timeframe on when everything else can be done and they are there to protect the fish. If we miss those windows because of weather or supply chain issues, it can easily set a project schedule back an entire year. This is what happened on Little Minter Creek. We ran into supply chain issues that pushed us beyond our “fish window” and the work was pushed into this summer. We will do our best to manage this schedule and provide updates along the way if anything changes.

Watch this video to learn more about the elements of structure design
and why those may make a project timeline shorter or longer.

Watch this video to see an up-close look at the previous construction to remove the fish barrier at Minter Creek.
The corrections on Little Minter Creek will improve access for even more fish habitat in the watershed.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Seismic projects will help bridges stand up to a major earthquake

By Tom Pearce

Many an emergency manager in the Pacific Northwest, particularly along the coast, would be eager to tell you the question they ask themselves on a nearly daily basis: “What if The Big One happened tomorrow?” The Big One refers to a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Researchers say it’s not a matter of ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when.’

Our agency is also very aware of the potential for a large earthquake anywhere in western Washington, whether it’s the Cascadia fault or one of the multitude of others that run through the Puget Sound region. That’s why we have a seismic retrofit program as part of our bridges and structures preservation plans. By strengthening our infrastructure, we can reduce the chances of a catastrophic collapse when The Big One hits.

As we developed plans to strengthen bridges and overpasses, we worked with the Department of Emergency Management and others to identify key “Lifeline Routes,” a series of roads determined as critical to move emergency vehicles, goods and supplies for disaster response. We’ve planned our seismic retrofit projects so that we can support these vital corridors.

If the concrete column cracks during an earthquake, a steel jacket like on this column helps hold it together and reduces the chances an overpass could collapse.

This summer we will begin construction on two seismic retrofit projects – one on Interstate 5 in Lynnwood and at Northgate, and another on I-405 in Renton and Bellevue. These projects will help keep overpasses standing in an earthquake.

The two parts of a bridge most susceptible to an earthquake are the columns and piers on which the girders rest, so we focus on those. To help keep bridges standing, we wrap the columns with inch-thick steel jackets. That way, if the column in the concrete cracks, it remains in place.

This bridge has girder stops, but not steel jackets on the columns that support the piers.

As for the girders, they sit on top of the piers that the columns support. If there is nothing in between the girders, they could come loose in an earthquake and cause a collapse. To help prevent this, we install steel and concrete reinforcing, called “bolsters.” These keep the girders from shifting.

So far we have completed full work on about 325 bridges and partial retrofits on about 115 others of the roughly 900 overpasses designated for retrofit.

It is important to note, despite this work we can’t guarantee all bridges will be useable after a major earthquake. A bridge may not be able to support traffic after a strong earthquake, even after being retrofitted. The idea is to keep it from collapsing and damaging even more infrastructure.

In the years ahead we will continue to strengthen our highway system to better stand up to a major earthquake. With a price tag of $1.5 billion, it could take decades to complete. In the meantime, we will continue to plan and perform this important work around our region.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Hey Maverick, lose the need for speed!

New SR 520 speed radar signs will help everyone – even a Top Gun pilot – remember to slow down for safety

By Steve Peer and Diana Dannoun

While Maverick clearly had not lost his need for speed in Top Gun: Maverick, you are not Maverick, and the need for speed is hazardous on our roadways, especially in work zones.  Speeding increases the risk of crashes that at best can delay everyone's travel, and more importantly, is a major safety hazard.

That's why drivers will now see new speed indication signs on State Route 520 in Seattle between Interstate 5 and the floating bridge on Lake Washington.

One of the new speed signs being installed near the SR 520 work zones

If you've traveled through the Montlake area, you've seen plenty of construction and narrowed lanes. To ensure the safety of workers and drivers traveling through these confined spaces, we've reduced the speed limit to 40 mph. This measure greatly minimizes major crashes.

A look at where the new speed signs will be installed on SR 520

The new speed signs are aimed at slowing traffic and are equipped with radar to monitor and display your speed as you pass by. They will flash if speeds exceed 40 mph to politely and firmly remind drivers to slow down.

We chose this particular area for these signs because they are bookended by two projects: The Montlake Project on the east side and the SR 520 / I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project on the west side. The signs will also be used during construction of the upcoming Portage Bay Bridge Project.

All about safety

Sometimes it's easy to forget amidst the heavy equipment, hard hats and vests, but we have real people working in our work zones who want to return home to their families every night. People like Safi and Kristina. Our crews work inches from active traffic to improve everyone's travel. While we do everything we can to protect them, most of them can recount multiple times they had to dodge drivers speeding into their work zones, or worse.

Our hope is that these new signs will be another tool to help keep everyone safe, but they won't work if drivers don't pay attention to them, so please do your part. The next time you're traveling along SR 520 – or any work zone – please remember that even Maverick needs to slow down in these areas.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Not just improving the ride through downtown Seattle, we’re also beautifying the drive

By Amy Moreno

In the heat of the summer construction season, the paths most traveled also are the job sites for our crews and contractors. Our Revive I-5 crews are focused on replacing expansion joints in downtown Seattle this summer, but while we’re in the neighborhood, we might as well tidy up a little!

While some crews are chipping out old joints and replacing them, a subcontractor is painting over graffiti while we already have some lanes closed. Normally, we’d have to schedule separate lane closures to address graffiti, which is often painted in areas that are difficult to access. We know lane closures are frustrating for travelers, so by combining these efforts we’re able to use the same closure to accomplish both goals – and also reduce the effect on overall summer traffic.

In just four weekends, crews used nearly 200 gallons of paint to cover graffiti along I-5 near downtown Seattle and the Sodo neighborhood. On one Saturday, the team covered so much graffiti that they ran out of paint. They plan to continue this work during future weekend-long lane reductions on I-5 between I-90 and Spokane Street.

And the efforts are getting noticed: in recent weeks, some drivers in the lane closure backups have yelled “thank you” from their cars or added a wave and a thumbs up.

Crews remove graffiti along southbound I-5 during lane closures for Revive I-5 expansion joint replacement work.

You may have noticed less graffiti in the northbound I-5 lanes as well. Our northbound project to improve travel mobility between Seneca Street and SR 520 includes graffiti cleanup whenever and wherever it’s feasible. These crews work late at night and more than once they’ve chased away new “artists” who arrive ready to make their mark.

Graffiti is an ongoing issue that’s dangerous for those engaged in the crime and a distraction for drivers. We try to address it as soon as possible to prevent additional graffiti in the area. (We also prioritize covering items that are obscene or offensive). It takes time to schedule safe closures, so we’re happy to combine forces this year along I-5.

We realize some areas will get tagged after we clean, and we’ll deal with it when it happens, but this sort of “two-for-one” work during a scheduled closure highlights our commitment to taking care of both the roads and scenery along the way.

Left: Before crews cleaned graffiti under I-5 in Seattle (specific graffiti has been obscured in the photo).
Right: After graffiti cleanup

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Coming soon! A new roundabout is being added on SR 500 in Clark County this summer to improve safety, help with traffic flow

By Kayla Dunn

A new compact roundabout is coming to the intersection at Fourth Plain Boulevard, also called State Route 500, and Northeast 182nd Avenue in Clark County to create a safer intersection and keep travelers moving.

On July 11, crews will begin construction on the intersection. Travelers should find an alternate route if possible, or prepare for:

  • single lane closures with alternating traffic near the intersection
  • overnight work
  • a week-and-a-half total closure of the intersection beginning in early August
  • a temporary signal at Northeast 88th Street and Ward Road during the total closure of the SR 500 and 182nd Avenue intersection

The new roundabout is expected to be complete by the end of August. This is one of several projects planned in the area this summer (see more below).

This map shows the new roundabout location at Fourth Plain Boulevard and 182nd Avenue and paving work on SR 500 between Northeast 162nd Avenue and Northeast Leadbetter Road happening this summer.

The roundabout is one of several projects planned in the area this summer (see more below).

Why a roundabout at SR 500 and 182nd Avenue?

This drawing shows the roundabout to be installed at Fourth Plain Boulevard and 182nd Avenue in Clark County.

We decided to install a roundabout based on crash data collected between 2013 and 2017 that showed a history of crashes along this stretch of highway, most of which were rear-end or at-angle crashes, also called T-bone or side impact crashes. A roundabout at this location will improve safety by reducing the potential for these severe types of collisions, while keeping traffic flowing through the intersection.

Studies by the Federal Highway Administration have found that roundabouts can increase traffic capacity by 30 to 50 percent compared to traditional intersections.

Compact roundabouts have a diameter between 65 to 120 feet and are designed so that larger vehicles, like freight trucks or first responder vehicles, can drive over part of the center island to make the turn while still using a relatively small footprint for the roundabout. Compact roundabouts are like single-lane roundabouts, which are slightly larger in size, and use the same design to help keep vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists moving.

Benefits of roundabouts

There are many benefits of a roundabout, the most important being the reduction in severity of crashes. How does this work? Roundabouts help reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions due to:

  • Low travel speeds. Drivers must slow down and yield to traffic before entering a roundabout. Speeds in the roundabout are typically between 15 and 20 miles per hour.
  • No light to beat. Roundabouts are designed to promote a continuous, circular flow of traffic. Drivers need only yield to traffic before entering a roundabout; if there is no traffic in the roundabout, drivers are not required to stop. Because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers do not have the incentive to speed up to try and "beat the light" as they might at an intersection with a traffic signal.
  • One-way travel. Roads entering a roundabout are gently curved to direct drivers into the intersection and help them travel counterclockwise around the roundabout. The curved roads and one-way travel around the roundabout minimize any possibility for "T-bone" and head-on collisions.

Other Clark County summer construction

'Tis the season for summer construction in the Pacific Northwest and there are a few other projects happening nearby that we want travelers to know about.

In addition to the roundabout installation, travelers will also notice that other roadwork by WSDOT and Clark County is underway.

There are wild cards in construction this summer including weather and supply chain challenges. For the most up-to-date construction information, travelers can get real-time travel information on the WSDOT website.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Learn more about the new and improved Main Street Bridge currently under construction in Bellevue

By Victoria Miller

Work is already underway for the new and improved Main Street Bridge in Bellevue and once it’s finished it will better function for all types of users. While work continues, we wanted to share a bit more about travelers can expect once the new bridge opens.

We said goodbye to the old Main Street Bridge across Interstate 405 in downtown Bellevue during the weekend of June 18-19. Over 100 crew members worked to complete the demolition work of  the 260-foot-long bridge in 56 hours between late Friday night and early Monday morning of the weekend closure.

Crews are already at work to rebuild a new, longer bridge to accommodate the widening of I-405 as part of the Renton to Bellevue Project. With work expected to wrap up in late fall.

A new Main Street Bridge for more than just drivers

So, how will the new bridge be different from the old one?

The old bridge, built in the 1960s, had four lanes two lanes of vehicular traffic – two in each direction – with a 4-foot-wide sidewalk on each side and no marked or designated bicycle lanes. That put traffic close to the sidewalks and no longer meets current design standards that stress ease of access and use for all travelers.

The new bridge will still have four lanes, two in each direction – but it will be much more friendly to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The new Main Street Bridge will include a 5-foot-wide bike lane, an 8-foot-wide sidewalk and curb, a 12-and-a-half-foot-wide multi-use path and a 6-foot-wide landscaping planter that also creates a barrier between sidewalks and active traffic.

Cross section of the new Main Street Bridge lanes, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

The aesthetic design of the new bridge will integrate with existing structures throughout the I-405 corridor in downtown Bellevue and incorporates decorative finishes. We worked with the community, Bellevue city officials and stakeholders to add design elements inspired by nature that are also visually sensitive to the surrounding areas. Using simple geometric forms, colors and textures for these structures creates continuity along the corridor and establishes a cohesive identity for the project.

Following a multimodal vision

In line with the I-405 Master Plan, developed in 2002, we are working to implement multimodal improvements to move more people more efficiently through the entire I-405/SR 167 Corridor. Pedestrian and bicycle lane improvements are just one way we are working to fulfill that multimodal vision.

Example of the aesthetic design of the new Main Street bridge.

Other multimodal aspects of the Renton to Bellevue project include:

  • Construction of portions of the King County Eastrail, including a 2.5-mile paved section along Lake Washington, which opened in November 2021, and a new crossing over I-405 in downtown Bellevue at the site of the former Wilburton rail bridge.
  • A new direct access ramp and inline transit station at the Northeast 44th Street interchange in Renton to help support Sound Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit operations.

Main Street Bridge closure details

As a reminder, the Main Street Bridge will potentially be closed for up to five months while crews construct the new bridge. Signs will direct drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to nearby detours, but travelers should expect increased congestion in the area.

Northeast Fourth Street will operate as the planned detour route, with signs directing travelers around the closure. In addition, Southeast Eighth Street and Northeast Eighth Street will relieve some of the traffic load from Northeast Fourth Street.

After the five-month-long bridge closure, the newly constructed bridge will partially open with one lane open to traffic in each direction for 60 days. Drivers will be able to use the bridge during these 60 days while crews finish construction of the bridge. Pedestrians and bicyclists will not be able to use the bridge during this time. After the 60-day partial reopening, all lanes and sidewalks on the completed bridge will open to all travelers.

How can I stay informed?

Make sure to stay up to date with the latest traffic and closure information by using our real-time travel map. If you would like to stay up to date on I-405 construction, please subscribe to the King County News listserv and/or the Eastside of Lake Washington Transportation News listserv.

If you have questions about this closure or the larger project in general, you can contact our project office at i405sr167program@wsdot.wa.gov or call the 24/7 construction hotline at 425-818-0161.