Local Information

Back-to-back weekends of lane reductions on SR 99 Aurora bridge in Seattle

Monday, August 5, 2019 - 13:51

Postponed: The work scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, is postponed due to rain in the forecast. The next weekend of work now will be Aug. 17-18.

Tom Pearce, communications, 206-440-4696
Ed Kane, project engineer, 425-225-8743

Delays expected on surrounding north-south corridors when bridge is down to one lane in each direction

SEATTLE – It’s going to be a doubleheader of weekend lane reductions on the State Route 99 Aurora bridge in Seattle, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction Aug. 10-11 and 17-18.

Beginning at 8 p.m. each of the next two Fridays, Aug. 9 and 16, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will shift traffic to a single lane in each direction so they can repave the rest of the lanes on the north end of the bridge. Normally the bridge has three lanes in each direction. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. the following Monday.

The weekend of Aug. 10-11, crews will repave the southbound lanes. The following weekend, Aug. 17-18, they’ll tackle the northbound lanes. Work is weather-dependent; a forecast of rain could postpone either or both weekends.

Allow extra time, consider altering travel plans
With each direction of SR 99 reduced to a single lane, people traveling near the bridge should plan for heavy traffic and delays. Expect side streets in the Queen Anne, Fremont, Wallingford and Ballard neighborhoods, as well as Interstate 5, to have heavier than usual traffic.

To help limit the backups, when possible, people who usually drive should consider:

  • Carpooling
  • Transit
  • Bicycling
  • Walking
  • Delaying trips

The walkway on the west side of the bridge will remain open during the work.

Travelers also should plan for weeknight lane reductions leading up to each weekend as crews prepare to repave the bridge. Before heading out, travelers can get real-time traffic information with the WSDOT mobile app and the WSDOT Traffic Twitter feed.

Working on the bridge
These are the third and fourth of several scheduled weekends for this part of the project. Project Engineer Ed Kane is pleased with the progress so far. The condition of the 88-year-old concrete bridge deck under the asphalt pavement is a critical element in the overall project timeline, he said.

“So far, the deck underneath the pavement has been in pretty good shape,” Kane said. “Until we remove the asphalt, we don’t know what kind of condition the deck is in. During the first couple of weekends the crews had to do some deck repairs, but it was manageable. But if we get in and find larger repairs are needed, it could take several more weekends to finish.”

Once the bridge is reduced to one lane each way, crews from Liberty Maintenance and their subcontractors will:

  • Repair the concrete bridge deck
  • ​Replace waterproofing on the bridge deck
  • Repave with a fresh layer of asphalt
  • Repair expansion joints

Preserving the bridge
Crews used weekend-long lane reductions in June to repave the southern half of the bridge. Additional paving weekends are set for Sept. 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29, as needed. The bridge repaving is part of a larger effort to repave SR 99 between Roy Street near the Seattle Center and North 145th Street, the Seattle-Shoreline city limit.

Aside from paving, crews recently completed more than a year-long effort to paint the beams and girders that support the bridge. These efforts help preserve and prolong the lifespan of the bridge.

The painting and paving project has a total budget of $35.2 million.

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