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.