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Major construction means heavy congestion in Puget Sound Aug. 10-13

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Date:  Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Contact: Steve Peer, WSDOT SR 167 communications, 425-301-2023
Ryan Bianchi, WSDOT SR 520 communications 206-819-7230
Jamie Holter, WSDOT traffic communications 206-440-4698
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RENTON – It’s not carmageddon, but it is the biggest construction weekend Puget Sound has seen this summer. Drivers should plan and be prepared for total road closures in Renton, Seattle, Bellevue, Lake Stevens and Clearview in Snohomish County. The weekend mantra is: leave early then add an hour.

“We’ve packed a lot of construction into one weekend,” said Lorena Eng, Washington State Department of Transportation regional administrator. “Drivers should check the Web, plan alternate routes, stay on top of changing traffic conditions, and be prepared for longer than normal travel times.”

Closures

  • The State Route 520 floating bridge and all connected ramps will be closed between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue from 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13, while crews demolish the old Bellevue Way Northeast overpass and dig a 25-foot-deep trench to install a culvert beneath all lanes of the highway.
  • State Route 167 will be closed between I-405 and South 180th Street/Southwest 43rd Street from 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 4:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13, while crews dig a 35-foot-deep trench to install a new culvert beneath the highway. 
  • State Route 9 between State Route 524 and 180 Street SE in Clearview will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, to install a culvert. The detour route is eight miles long and will add 15 minutes or more to the trip. 
  • The intersection of State Route 92 and SR 9 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, for paving.
  • The city of Seattle will close the southbound I-5 off-ramp at 85th Street from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 27, to pave 85th Street.

“Summer construction is tough to schedule, especially this type of work,” said Eng. Culvert replacement work requires low water levels and around-the-clock closures. Traffic engineers also plan weekend-long closures around construction, popular festivals, triathlons, Seafair activities, and major events like Mariner’s games.

“If we had to pick the best weekend to do this intense work, this is it,” said Mark Leth, WSDOT traffic engineer. This weekend is an ideal time for the work with many commuters on vacation and school not in session.

With SR 167 closed in Renton, SR 520 closed across the lake, and SR 9 closed in Clearview, parallel routes like I-5, the West Valley Highway, I-90 and State Route 527 (in Snohomish County) will be much busier.

“To help keep traffic moving, we will change the I-90 express lanes hours to accommodate the Seahawks game, add more incident response teams throughout the construction areas and designate the HOT lanes as HOV only on Highway 167,” Leth said.

In south King County, cross-valley, local routes like South 180th Street, South 196th Street, South 212th Street and the I-405/I-5 interchange will see much heavier traffic.

Drivers who are in town and plan local trips or plan to see the Seahawks Saturday night at 7 p.m. should prepare for significantly longer travel times. “It’s not an over statement to suggest fans leave by 4 p.m.,” Eng said. “The forecast is for 80 degrees. Enjoy all downtown Seattle has to offer if you arrive early.”

Stay informed

WSDOT has plenty of information available to help drivers stay on top of closures and traffic. The Web page, August Weekend Closure, is the first stop with links to specific closure information.

From there, drivers can download the WSDOT Android and iPhone traffic apps, which have more than 200,000 downloads, sign up for the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed, @wsdot_traffic, which has more than 12,000 subscribers and has been described as the best source for Puget Sound traffic information.

On the road, drivers can tune into radio traffic reports, call 511, and track changing traffic patterns, collisions and travel times with the overhead freeway signs.

“We’re prepared,” Eng said. “We count on Puget Sound drivers to be prepared. When we ask people to plug in and plan for construction, they do.”

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