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Heavy congestion expected Sunday afternoon as work continues on SR 520, northbound I-405

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Date:  Sunday, July 14, 2013

Contact: Travis Phelps , WSDOT communications, 206-715-9887 (Seattle/cell)

BELLEVUE – Drivers are doing their parts this weekend to help reduce congestion during the weekend-long closures of State Route 520 across Lake Washington and northbound Interstate 405 through downtown Bellevue.

“We want to thank drivers for planning ahead and taking transit, carpooling, using alternate routes or adjusting travel plans on Saturday,” said WSDOT’s Northwest Regional Administrator Lorena Eng. “We need more help from drivers today as people head to the Mariners game and other events to keep traffic moving.”

As expected, drivers from across the Puget Sound region experienced longer than normal travel times Saturday, especially on Interstate 5 and Interstate 90 heading into Seattle. Drivers also experienced slowdowns on northbound I-405 approaching Southeast Eighth Street in Bellevue. Largely, big backups have been avoided thanks to drivers who adjusted their weekend trips.

Other routes, including city of Bellevue streets such as Bellevue Way, 116th Avenue Northeast and 148th Avenue Northeast saw increased congestion.

Beginning 10 p.m. Friday, July 12, all northbound lanes of I-405 closed through downtown Bellevue for concrete panel replacement, while the SR 520 floating bridge closed at 11 p.m. for installation of a massive fish-friendly culvert west of I-405 and the floating bridge’s annual inspection. All lanes of both highways will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, July 15, in time for the morning commute.

Drivers urged to prepare for more congestion Sunday
Drivers can expect heavy congestion again Sunday on regional freeways such as I-5 and I-90, and local streets in Bellevue. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead, take five minutes to check WSDOT’s online travel resources, and leave extra time to reach their destination.

Weekend construction progress
On I-405, crews have removed 512 panels and are currently 44 percent done with replacing the 50-year-old concrete panels in the two left lanes between Southeast Eighth Street and Main. Crews are on schedule to finish pouring concrete Sunday afternoon so it can harden for 10 hours before new paint stripes are placed between lanes. Crews plan to begin opening lanes by 4 a.m. Monday with all lanes opened by 5 a.m.

On SR 520, bridge maintenance crews are busy carefully inspecting the floating bridge to ensure it’s ready for another winter storm season. And construction crews have finished installing an 11-foot diameter fish-friendly culvert underneath all lanes of SR 520 west of I-405. Now they’re working quickly and on schedule to backfill the 35-foot-deep trench and repave a 100-foot-wide section of highway before 5 a.m. Monday morning.

Weekend closure details

I-405

  • 10 p.m. Friday, July 12, to 5 a.m. Monday, July 15: Crews will close all lanes of northbound I-405 from Southeast Eighth Street to SR 520, as well as the eastbound and westbound I-90 ramps to northbound I-405. The exit to Southeast Eighth Street remains open, but drivers should expect heavy congestion and long delays.

SR 520

  • 11 p.m. Friday, July 12, to 5 a.m. Monday, July 15: Crews closed both directions of SR 520 and all connected ramps between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and I-405 in Bellevue. Two sections of SR 520 remain open to traffic: I-5 to Montlake Boulevard and areas east of I-405.

Alternate routes

  • I-5
  • I-90
  • To reach downtown Bellevue: Take Southeast Eighth Street to 116th Avenue Northeast.
  • To leave downtown Bellevue: Use Northeast Eighth Street to get to northbound I-405. Use Northeast 10th Street to get to eastbound SR 520.
  • Westbound SR 520 drivers can use southbound I-405 or 148th Avenue Northeast to travel south.
  • I-90 drivers looking to head north on I-405 will be detoured to Bellevue Way and 148th Avenue Southeast.

Keeping traffic moving
WSDOT is doing everything possible to help keep traffic moving during the weekend lane closures and the Mariners games against the Los Angeles Angels:

  • Downtown Bellevue is open for business with several alternate routes available.
  • Additional Incident Response Teams are on duty to clear incidents and stalled vehicles that worsen backups.
  • The I-5 and I-90 express lanes hours of operation are changed to accommodate weekend and Mariners traffic.

To reduce congestion, WSDOT is counting on drivers to:
• Delay or eliminate discretionary trips.
• Travel before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
• Allow at least one hour of extra time to reach destinations.
• Know detour routes before driving.
• Carpool, use public transportation or bike.
• Use Twitter to stay informed about traffic conditions. WSDOT is using the hashtag #Take5 to keep drivers informed during the closure.
• Check WSDOT’s website for updated traffic information (see below).

Tools for drivers

• Seattle area traffic: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle
• Traffic cameras: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic
• Travel alerts: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/trafficalerts
• Mobile apps for cell phones and other wireless devices: www.wsdot.com/Inform/mobile.htm
• Follow WSDOT on Twitter: twitter.com/WSDOT_traffic for Puget Sound traffic.
• Call 5-1-1 for traffic updates.
• Tune to highway advisory radio and watch electronic highway signs for information.

The work on I-405 is part of the $8.2 million I-405 Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation project. The SR 520 work is part of regular floating-bridge maintenance and the $306 million SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV project.


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