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Plan ahead for increased travel times Sunday afternoon as work continues in Bellevue and Renton

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Date:  Sunday, August 11, 2013

Contact: Kris Olsen , WSDOT communications, 206-440-4704 (I-405 Panel Replacement)
Broch Bender , WSDOT communications, 206-440-4698 (SR 167 ramp drainage pipe)

BELLEVUE – Drivers are urged to plan ahead today to help reduce congestion and travel delays during the weekend-long closures of northbound Interstate 405 through Bellevue and the ramp from northbound State Route 167 to northbound I-405 in Renton.

“We need help from drivers again today to keep traffic moving as people head out to the Mariners game, go to work or simply enjoy the last day of the sunny weekend,” said WSDOT’s Northwest Region Administrator Lorena Eng. “We understand weekend road closures are inconvenient for drivers, but planning ahead can make them less stressful.”

As predicted, drivers around the greater Seattle-Bellevue area experienced longer than normal travel times on Saturday, especially on northbound I-5 heading into Seattle. The backups began in the late morning and continued through the early evening. Drivers also experienced slowdowns on northbound I-405 approaching Southeast Eighth Street in Bellevue and northbound SR 167 approaching I-405 in Renton.

Surface streets in Bellevue such as Bellevue Way, 116th Avenue Northeast, 148th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street also saw heavier than normal traffic.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, all northbound lanes of I-405 between Southeast Eighth Street and State Route 520 were closed for concrete panel replacement work. The ramp from SR 167 to northbound I-405 also closed to decommission a failing metal drainage pipe and install a new rubberized pipe.

Drivers can expect more congestion on Sunday on regional highways such as I-5, I-405, SR 167 and local streets in Bellevue. WSDOT urges drivers to plan ahead and take five minutes to check WSDOT’s online travel resources.

Weekend construction progress
On I-405, crews from Atkinson Construction have removed more than 400 cracked and failing concrete panels. They are currently pouring new concrete for all new panels in the two right lanes between Southeast Eighth and Main streets in Bellevue. Crews are on schedule to finish the concrete work Sunday afternoon so the concrete can harden for at least 10 hours before new paint stripes are placed between the lanes. The panel replacement is important maintenance and preservation work that extends the life of this important commuter and freight corridor. Crews plan to begin reopening I-405 by 4 a.m. Monday with all lanes open by 5 a.m.

On SR 167, contractor crews from Active Construction completed pumping concrete into and around a 600-foot-long metal drainage pipe under the ramp from northbound SR 167 to northbound I-405. The pipe was filled with debris and collapsing, increasing the risk of flooding that could force an emergency closure of the ramp. The crew is now digging a trench more than 600 feet long to install a new rubberized pipe under the shoulder. The new pipe significantly reduces the flooding risk. The crew is on schedule to reopen the ramp by 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12.

Weekend closure details

I-405

        • Through 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12:

o 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 remain until 4 a.m. Monday.

o The exit to Southeast Eighth Street remains open, but drivers should expect heavy congestion and long delays.

o Northbound I-405 will be reduced to one lane between SR 520 and Northeast 70th Street in Kirkland from 1 to 5 a.m. on Monday.

o The on-ramp from Northeast Eighth Street to northbound I-405 remains open.

o A detour route is available.

SR 167

    • Through 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12:

o The northbound SR 167 ramp to northbound I-405 remains closed.

o The on-ramp from northbound SR 167 to southbound I-405 remains open.

o The on-ramp from Rainier Avenue South to northbound I-405 remains open.

o Drivers can follow a signed detour route.

Keeping traffic moving
WSDOT will do everything possible to help keep traffic moving during the weekend lane and ramp closures and the Mariners game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.

Downtown Bellevue remains for business with several alternate routes available.

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 have been adjusted to accommodate weekend 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 will use 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/seattle 
    • 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 for Puget Sound traffic.
    • Call 5-1-1 for traffic updates.
    • Tune to highway advisory radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM and watch electronic highway signs for information.

This weekend’s work is part of the $8.2 million I-405 Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation project, the $835,000 I-405/SR 167 Major Drainage Repair project and the $155 million Northeast Sixth to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes project.


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