Warning: Annoyance and Road Rage Imminent

The following is from the WSDOT...

How will this affect traffic?
Major lane closures. The work on northbound I-5 will require some of the most extensive lane and ramp closures Seattle drivers have ever seen. I-5 will be reduced to two or three lanes during the daytime, and sometimes just one lane overnight, during the intensive 19-day period, Aug. 10-29.

During the 19 days WSDOT will also close ramps, including the Spokane Street and Columbian Way on-ramps, and the exit to Fourth Avenue South.

  • The Spokane Street on-ramp will be closed for two weekends.
  • The Columbian Way on-ramp will be closed throughout construction from Aug. 10-29.
  • The 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 also expect additional nighttime closures of these ramps.

Drivers will likely face lengthy backups and significant delays on freeways and city streets. The August construction lane closures will create long backups on northbound I-5 and will push traffic onto other routes, including city streets in Georgetown, SODO, Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill. WSDOT 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.

Will there be a detour route?
There will not be a designated detour route because the interstate will remain open throughout construction.

Will speeds be reduced on I-5 during construction?
Speed limits near the construction area will decrease from 60 mph to 55 mph, and decrease further to 45 mph through the work zone.

What is WSDOT doing to minimize traffic effects?
An aggressive 19-day construction schedule will allow WSDOT crews to get in, get the work done and get out of drivers' way as quickly and safely as possible. WSDOT and the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduling other construction projects to avoid conflicts with the I-5 Spokane Street to I-90 Bridge Repair project.

The contractor will have major incentives to finish early. For every day that the work is completed ahead of schedule, the contractor will be rewarded with $100,000. For every day the project goes over the 19-day schedule, the contractor would be fined $100,000.

What can drivers do?

Drivers can help minimize backups and make their own commutes easier during the project by:

  • Using carpools or vanpools
  • Riding the bus or train
  • Working from home or an alternate worksite
  • Adjusting work schedules to come in earlier or later than normal
  • Using alternate routes
  • Delaying or rescheduling discretionary trips
  • Taking a vacation between Aug. 10-29

For more detailed information: