BELLEVUE– Crews packed in a full weekend of work to preserve and maintain vital Eastside routes before reopening northbound Interstate 405 in Bellevue and the northbound State Route 167 ramp to northbound I-405 in Renton. Northbound I-405 reopened at 2:35 a.m. Monday, nearly 90 minutes early. The SR 167 ramp reopened on schedule at 4:58 a.m.
The Washington State Department of Transportation thanks all drivers who adjusted their plans and heeded advice to “take 5”: taking five minutes to check WSDOT’s online travel resources, or taking I-5 as an alternate route.
“Removing concrete roadways down to the soil and rebuilding them up again takes a good chunk of time,” said WSDOT Northwest Regional Administrator Lorena Eng. “We know full weekend closures are inconvenient, but in this case, the alternative would have meant up to six months of night closures. Drivers seem to prefer it when we tear the Band-Aid off quickly, and that’s what we did.”
Although many drivers followed warnings to postpone discretionary trips and to travel outside of the busiest daytime hours, Seattle’s I-5 absorbed the bulk of diverted I-405 traffic. The weekend’s worst congestion occurred on Saturday between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., when northbound I-5 was backed up from mid-Boeing Field to Northgate, and southbound I-5 was jammed from Northgate to the Ship Canal Bridge.
What did crews complete?
During the around-the-clock weekend closures, workers completed several time-consuming tasks.
Contractor crews dug 12 feet under the roadway and decommissioned a 30-year-old failing metal drainage pipe. A significant part of the drainage system for SR 167, the pipe was corroded, collapsing and full of debris. Crews installed a new, heavy-duty rubberized plastic pipe located directly under the ramp shoulder. The new pipe will help prevent flooding on one of the busiest ramps in the state.
Crews demolished more than 440 aging concrete panels and poured new concrete in the two right lanes between Southeast Eighth and Main streets in Bellevue – the length of a dozen football fields. Crews also completed grinding and pavement sealing to smooth the ride between SR 520 and Northeast 70th Street.
Crews on I-405 expect to finish replacing isolated concrete panels through Bellevue at the end of this month. They’ll also work on drainage and shoulder improvements. Drivers should expect weeknight lane closures through mid-September to complete the work and restripe the roadway.
Work on the SR 167 ramp will continue through Wednesday morning with overnight ramp closures while crews install the last section of the new drainage pipe, and pave and stripe the roadway.
This weekend’s work was part of the $8.2 million I-405 Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation project, the $835,000 I-405/SR 167 Major Drainage Repair project and the $155 million Northeast Sixth to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes project.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 5-1-1.