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Blue Angels return to the skies mean closures of I-90 bridge during Seafair

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Date:  Friday, July 25, 2014

Contact: Bart Treece , WSDOT communications, 206-440-4473 
               Melissa Jurican , Seafair, 206-728-0123, extension 109

Closure required for airshow practice, shows

SEATTLE – The F/A-18 Blue Angels over Seattle is sure to thrill crowds during Seafair, but drivers are going to need to plan an alternate route to prevent their travel plans from going bust while the jets are airborne.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is required by the Federal Aviation Administration to close the Interstate 90 floating bridge five times to drivers, walkers and cyclists this weekend while the Blue Angels practice for and perform at the Seafair Airshow.

WSDOT will close I-90 from Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island during practice flights and performances Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug 3. Traffic will need to take alternate routes. Drivers should expect heavy traffic and delays in the greater Seattle and Bellevue areas.

Certain I-90 and I-5 ramps will also close 30 minutes to one hour before flight times. Drivers who need to cross Lake Washington should plan to do so at least one hour before the closures or use an alternate route, such as Interstate 405 or State Route 522.

I-90 closure schedule

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (practice)
  • Friday, Aug. 1: 12:15 to 2:40 p.m. (practice) 
  • Saturday, Aug. 2: 12:15 to 2:40 p.m. (Seafair airshow) 
  • Sunday, Aug. 3: 12:15 to 2:40 p.m. (Seafair airshow)

Ramp closures

  • Both directions of I-5 to eastbound I-90 ramp (closed up to 30 minutes prior to practice or show) 
  • Rainier Avenue ramps to eastbound I-90 (closed up to 30 minutes prior to practice or show) 
  • 76th Avenue to westbound I-90 (closed up to 30 minutes prior to practice or show) 
  • Island Crest Way to westbound I-90 (closed up to 30 minutes prior to practice or show) 
  • Eastbound I-90 to West Mercer Way (closed up to 30 minutes prior to practice or show) 
  • East Mercer Way to westbound I-90 (closed up one hour prior to practice or show) 
  • West Mercer Way to westbound I-90 (up to one hour prior to practice or show)

The closures are required by FAA to ensure safety and minimize distractions for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and the Blue Angels pilots. For details on closures and FAA regulations visit the Seafair closures page.

SR 520 open during I-90 closures
Similar to previous years, during the I-90 closures, the SR 520 floating bridge will still be open to traffic and tolls will be collected according to the rate schedule. Infrequent users of the SR 520 bridge may want to consider setting up a short-term Good To Go! account for Seafair weekend.

Additionally, the SR 520 drawspan will not open for marine traffic during the following times: 

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 1: 12:15 to 2:40 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 2: 12:15 – 2:40 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 3: 12:15 to 2:40 p.m.

Drawspan openings should also be infrequent next week through Seafair weekend.

WSDOT temporarily reopened the east navigational channel by moving construction equipment for the new SR 520 bridge to another site. Temporarily reopening this channel allows boats less than 58 feet tall to pass under the east high-rise rather than request a draw span opening. Vessels less than 45 feet tall may also use the west navigation channel at any time.

Visit the SR 520 drawspan page for information about the bridge opening schedule and sign up for text and email alerts to get advance warning of draw span openings.

Check the What’s Happening Now page for up-to-date information on special events and important construction updates in your area. Drivers can also tap into resources such as @wsdot_traffic on Twitter, the Seattle traffic page and travel alerts.


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