I-5 - Express Lanes Entrances - Electronic Sign Replacement

Project news

  • This project was awarded to Northeast Electric, LLC.
  • Expect nighttime lane and ramp closures during December 2019.
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Most of the signs at the entrances to the Interstate 5 express lanes in Seattle were recently replaced with LED technology. However, the hardware and technology supporting the signs are in need of an upgrade. Contractor crews will replace the sign structures and brackets, along with the electrical and fiber optic systems at seven entrances to the I-5 express lanes. A few of the sign structures will also be redesigned to create a better viewing angle.

In addition, the two remaining signs that have not been updated will be replaced with LED signs. Crews will also install or modify barriers around the new sign structures at five of the entrances and restore damaged pedestrian ramps at three of the entrances to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Why is WSDOT upgrading the electric sign structures at seven entrances to the I-5 express lanes?
The sign structures and brackets are more than 50 years old and past their design life. The electrical and fiber optic systems that power and communicate with the signs are also outdated and frequently fail.

Most of the signs themselves were recently replaced, except for the two at Cherry and Columbia streets at 5th Avenue. They will be upgraded to be compatible with the rest of the I-5 express lanes signage system.

The End Result
This project will increase the operational and structural reliability of the signs. Modified angles on some of the signs will make them easier for drivers to see. These upgrades improve safety at seven entrances to the I-5 express lanes. The new hardware will also reduce maintenance needs.

Needs & benefits

  • Safety: Replacing the electric signage systems will increase the operational and structural reliability of the signs at the I-5 express lanes entrances. Better viewing angles on some of the signs will improve safety for drivers and pedestrians. Restoration of damaged ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps create an easier transition between street and sidewalk.
  • Economic: Hardware upgrades, including electrical and fiber optic systems and new LED technology signs, reduce the need for emergency repairs, which are costly to taxpayers.


  • November 2017: Project is scheduled to be advertised for competitive bidding.
  • Spring 2018: Construction began.
  • Fall 2019: Construction is scheduled to be complete.


Financial Data for PIN 100525M
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $0
CWA $2,895
Total $2,895


Tom Pearce
WSDOT communications