Bridge repair in Seattle to cause traffic delays

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Seattle drivers will experience traffic delays for more than two weeks as construction work begins on northbound Interstate 5 between Spokane Street and I-90, which will require around-the-clock lane closures through Aug. 29.

Crews have closed several lanes of northbound I-5, leaving only two or three lanes open to traffic. The closures will have significant effects on traffic in the Puget Sound area, the state Department of Transportation says.

Southbound I-5 lanes and ramps are not affected yet. Crews will complete southbound repairs in September using overnight lane closures. I-5 from Spokane Street to the I-90 interchange is an elevated bridge that is more than 40 years old.

The expansion joints will be replaced on the northbound bridge and its lanes will be resurfaced. The expansion joints on the southbound bridge also will be repaired. The new pavement and improved expansion joints are expected to last more than 25 years.

During the project, some ramps will be closed, including the Spokane Street and Columbian Way on-ramps to north I-5, and the northbound I-5 exit to Fourth Avenue South. Other closings include:

  • The Spokane Street on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed for two weekends.
  • The Columbian Way on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed through Aug. 29.
  • The northbound I-5 exit to Fourth Avenue South will be closed for three workdays.
  • For one weekend drivers on northbound I-5 will be unable to access the northbound on-ramp to I-90 and exits to Dearborn, James and Madison streets. James and Madison streets exits will remain accessible from westbound I-90 or eastbound SR 519.
  • Drivers should expect additional nighttime closures of these ramps.
  • Drivers likely will face lengthy backups and significant delays on freeways and city streets from 4 a.m. to midnight. The August construction lane closures will push traffic onto other routes, including city streets in Georgetown, SODO, Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill.

    The state DOT anticipates I-405 and State Route 99 will be popular freeway alternatives. Trucks will be encouraged to use I-405, East Marginal Way South and Airport Way South.

    Backups and delays will not be limited to the Seattle area and south end; they will spread to the Eastside. The typical morning congestion on I-405 will extend throughout the day.

    Many more trucks will be using I-405 during this construction, and other drivers also will choose I-405 as an alternate route.

    There will not be a designated detour route because the interstate will remain open throughout construction. Alternate routes include:

  • Airport Way S.
  • Fourth Avenue S.
  • First Avenue S.
  • Alaskan Way S.
  • SR 99
  • I-405
  • East Marginal Way
  • The estimated project completion is fall 2007.