SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program - News and updates

Jan. 21, 2021 | 2020: A year in review for the SR 520 Program


Message from the administrators

Greetings. This is Omar Jepperson, administrator of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program, and Dawn Yankauskas, deputy administrator. If you’re like us, you learned a lot in 2020 – and endured a lot too. It was a tough year. We continue to be awed by the resiliency of our staff and crews, and by the commitment from our stakeholders and neighbors to stay engaged.

Despite all the stresses and challenges the pandemic created, we made a lot of progress in 2020 on the SR 520 Program. Even as we paused construction for 11 weeks last spring because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we advanced the planning and design of the SR 520/I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project and the Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project. We also continued our contractor outreach program to promote inclusive contracting opportunities on SR 520 for minority-, veteran-, and women-owned small businesses. And once effective safety protocols were established under Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive, we restarted our Montlake Project construction in a way that protects our crews and the public. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation is experiencing a significant drop in expected transportation revenues because of the pandemic. We continue to work with the Governor’s Office to determine how this may affect WSDOT’s budget. One recent action was the Office of Financial Management’s (OFM) directive that WSDOT delay projects scheduled to be advertised for contractor bids until the Governor and Legislature agree on a plan for the 2021-2023 transportation budget. Specifically, this applies to capital expansion construction projects, including the I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project. WSDOT projects already in construction, including the Montlake Project, are not affected by the OFM order, and work proceeds as planned.

Making changes to our budget requires action by the Legislature, and depending on what happens in the 2021 legislative session, we could see other changes in our WSDOT project schedules and completion dates. We will keep you informed as we learn more about the schedule for upcoming SR 520 projects.

Thank you for your continued interest in the SR 520 Program and your patience as we work to replace vulnerable structures and deliver the safety and mobility benefits of an improved, multimodal highway corridor.

Below are more project highlights from 2020 along with a peek at what’s in store for the year ahead. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Here’s to a brighter 2021 for you and yours!

Take care,

Omar Jepperson
Administrator, SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program


Dawn Yankauskas
Deputy Administrator, SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program

Read the rest of our 2020 Year in Review online.


Jan. 13, 2021 | News of the week

In this update

Weekend recap – highway closure wrapped up ahead of schedule

Last weekend, Montlake Project crews closed eastbound SR 520 to realign traffic lanes near the 24th Avenue East overpass. The lane realignment created a safe workspace for crew members to install new electrical facilities for the future Montlake freeway lid. This work included moving concrete barriers, removing and replacing asphalt roadway, and painting new lane striping. Thank you to everyone for your patience during this work. If you’re traveling on eastbound SR 520 this week, take it slow through Montlake and be prepared for a new roadway alignment.

Crews took advantage of the closure to accomplish other tasks, including moving two of our four construction cameras. Check out the new project views from Camera 2 and Camera 4. The team completed all the scheduled work and opened the highway at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, much earlier than expected.

A highway with one direction shut down for construction. There are construction workers and equipment on the closed section.

Be prepared for more upcoming SR 520 directional closures starting later this month

To set the foundation for the landscaped lid over SR 520, crews will install large concrete beams, or girders, over the highway in Montlake. You can see a rendering of the lid online (png 5.5mb). Lifting these beams into place will require four weekend closures, two in each direction of SR 520 (similar to this past weekend’s closure). The first will be the eastbound lanes, from 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, to 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1. We’ll share more details about this closure as we get closer to it. As always, stay up to date on closures and construction activities by visiting the Construction Corner map.

A map of the January 8-11 2020 eastbound SR 520 weekend closure.


Dec. 22, 2020 | Rest of the West news

In this update:

Looking back on construction in 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has left a lasting mark on 2020, and we hope that you stay safe and healthy. This year crews carefully followed health and safety precautions to keep the project going. Key areas of work in 2020 included building the walls that will support the future Montlake lid over the highway, and demolishing the old eastbound bridge over Union Bay.

It’s easy to see how much the construction area has changed when you look at these photos from late 2019 and late 2020.

December 2019 photo of SR 520 construction in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood

The Montlake Project construction area in December 2019, looking west, with the 24th Avenue East overpass/off-ramp in the foreground.

December 2020 photo of SR 520 construction in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood

The Montlake Project construction area in December 2020, again looking west. A new center wall that will support the future Montlake freeway lid runs down the middle of this photo, with the south wall, at left, under construction.

Although some crews will continue their work over the next two weeks, the site is expected to be quiet Dec. 25-27 and Jan. 1-3. Construction schedules are subject to change, so check the Construction Corner for the latest information.

Looking forward to 2021

We’re kicking off the year to help the Montlake lid take shape. From January through March, we’re planning a total of four directional closures of SR 520 to install the girders that will support the Montlake lid. We’ll provide more details in future updates.

Other notable work we’re planning in early 2021:

  • Closure of East North Street between 24th Avenue East and Montlake Boulevard to complete work on a 54-inch-diameter water line under SR 520. The closure is expected to last into the spring.
  • Continued work to demolish the old eastbound bridge and build a seismically resilient, three-lane bridge in its place. Crews are working simultaneously on different sections of the bridge. In early 2021, crews will work near the shore of the Montlake area to support the bridge deck. Near Madison Park, crews continue demolishing the old bridge and building a work trestle to allow them to construct the new bridge.

For the most up-to-date information about construction, visit the SR 520 Construction Corner.


How to reach us and stay informed about SR 520 construction:

  • Call the 24-hour construction hotline (206-775-8885) with pressing Montlake Project questions or concerns.
  • Call the SR 520 Program information line (206-770-3554, M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) with general SR 520 inquiries.
  • Email SR 520 staff with your questions about the project or construction activities.
  • Visit the SR 520 Construction Corner for the most up-to-date information on closures and construction impacts.
  • Visit the SR 520 Program website to find general information about the project.
  • Visit the Montlake Project Information Center at 2209 E. North St., open Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the third Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Follow us on Twitter @wsdot_520 to get key news and updates about the SR 520 program.
  • (Please note: The Information Center is currently closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.) Stop by in person at the Montlake Project Information Center (2209 E. North St.).

Get weekly updates via email

Visit the WSDOT email updates page, enter your email address, and under "Construction Reports" select one of the following:

"SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program"
The email update on the entire program, from I-5 to I-405. Includes information on highway closures, construction milestones, and upcoming public meetings.

"SR 520 Rest of the West News"
Construction is underway on our next stage of construction in Seattle -- the Montlake Project. This update focuses squarely on SR 520 construction activities and other project updates in Seattle.