Northbound I-5 in Seattle to close overnight starting Dec. 4

UPDATE: Please note the schedule and closure plans for this work have changed. This will allow for a shorter work schedule. See details in paragraphs three and four.

Downtown traffic should exit early; through traffic can use express lanes

SEATTLE – Nighttime travelers making their way north through downtown Seattle on Interstate 5 should plan for multiple overnight closures and lane reductions starting Monday, Dec. 4, while crews replace an electronic sign mounted above the highway.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the mainline and collector/distributor lanes from I-90 to Olive Way nightly between 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, and 4 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6. The express lanes will remain open northbound overnight.

Work continues with nightly lane reductions and closures from 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec.6, through 4 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8. One lane of mainline I-5 will remain open northbound along with the express lanes. The northbound collector/distributor ramp and two mainline lanes will close. The Cherry Street and Dearborn ramps will close at 9 p.m.

Crews will work nightly during the weekend from 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, through 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. During those hours drivers should again plan for one lane of northbound I-5 to remain open along with the express lanes. The northbound collector/distributor ramp and two mainline lanes will close. The Cherry Street and Dearborn ramps will close at 9 p.m.

During the overnight closures, travelers using northbound I-5 can access downtown by using exits near the I-90 interchange, while those continuing north of downtown should use the express lanes.

Flammable cargo restriction

A flammable cargo restriction began Tuesday, Nov. 28, for northbound I-5 under the Seattle Convention Center. The restriction is expected to remain in place until the work is completed. This work involves replacing signs and wiring associated with the I-5 convention center overpass. The sign that warns of northbound tunnel closures will be unable to operate while the work is performed, thus requiring the restriction.   

Drivers going downtown

People traveling to downtown Seattle should use the Edgar Martinez Drive exit or take eastbound I-90 and exit at Rainier Avenue. The off-ramps to James, Madison and Cherry streets will be closed. The on-ramps from Dearborn, Cherry and University streets to northbound I-5 will also be closed.

Signed detours will assist drivers to the nearest open on-ramp. People driving on I-90 will not be able to connect directly to northbound I-5 and must use a detour route.

Going north of downtown Seattle

People going north of downtown can shift to the express lanes, keeping in mind that the first exit is Northeast 42nd Street in the University District. The express lanes also exit at Lake City Way and Northgate before rejoining the mainline.

Project milestones

Replacing the sign is another milestone for theI-5 Seneca to SR 520 mobility project in downtown Seattle. Travelers are already seeing benefits from ramp meters, new electronic signs and the addition of a third northbound lane that opened in July.

For the latest construction closure information, visit the WSDOT real-time travel map, download the WSDOT traffic app or sign up for email updates.

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.