How will this affect traffic?
Overnight lane closures. Thank you to drivers who helped keep traffic moving this August during some of the most extensive freeway lane and ramp closures Seattle drivers have ever seen. Construction crews will complete work on this project in the weeks ahead with overnight lane closures.
What did WSDOT do to minimize traffic effects?
- An aggressive 15-day construction schedule allowed 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 scheduled other construction projects to avoid conflicts with the I-5 Spokane Street to I-90 Bridge Repair project.
- We selected an August closure window to ensure good weather and reduce the chance of construction delays. August is the month with the lowest traffic volumes and transit usage, and offers the fewest conflicts with major summer events, such as Seafair, the Bite of Seattle and Bumbershoot.
- The contractor earned about $700,000 because they finished their work five days faster than WSDOT's estimated completion date and received credit for two days where rain - an act of God - delayed construction. The contractor risked $100,000 per day fines if they had missed their deadline.
- To reduce the risk of construction delays, WSDOT maintenance crews investigated and cleaned three of the existing joints in March to help potential contractors troubleshoot possible demolition and construction methods.
- Our contractor replaced a test joint on the I-5 shoulder in mid-July to help them plan for the joint reconstruction.
- Our bridge technical advisors were on site in August to ensure crews can complete joint reconstruction on time.
- We reduced I-5 lane widths to keep as many lanes open as possible.
- We increased the number of Incident Response Teams in the construction zone to quickly respond to incidents and clear disabled vehicles.
- We increased staff and extended hours in our Traffic Systems Management Center to:
- monitor traffic and identify problems using freeway cameras
- use data from traffic sensors on I-5 and other freeways to get a real-time picture of traffic conditions.
- coordinate response with the Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement and emergency response crews when responding to incidents on the highway.
- coordinate activities of WSDOT’s Incident Response Team.
- operate ramp meters to help manage traffic flow and reduce congestion.
- provide advance and up-to-the-minute travel information to drivers through highway advisory radio, electronic signs, the Web, and the 511 traveler information phone system.
- provide up-to-the-minute information to news and traffic reporters.
- We re-timed traffic signals at the Boeing Access Road/SR 900 interchange to help traffic divert onto alternate routes. Traffic engineers will be stationed at the interchange to make necessary signal adjustments.
- We reviewed travel patterns after each day of the closure and fine-tuned our traffic management operations.
- We adjusted the express lane schedules for I-5 and I-90.
- The Seattle Department of Transportation implemented several temporary traffic changes, including:
- Adjusting 90 traffic signals to increase north-south green times on alternate routes.
- Stationing trucks in key areas to quickly assist stalled vehicles.
- Limiting one northbound lane of Airport Way to buses, vanpools and trucks only.
- Adding a left-hand turn signal to make it easier to turn from eastbound South Spokane Street onto Fourth Avenue South.
- Increasing staffing of the city's Traffic Management Control Center, which can monitor intersections across the city and adjust traffic signals remotely.
- Stationing Seattle traffic-control officers to help manage congestion.
Community, business and government outreach
We talked to community, business and government groups since last fall. This outreach included:
- Presentations, door-to-door visits and phone calls with hundreds of neighborhood, business and community groups
- Information distributed to thousands of people at more than 50 community fairs and festivals
- Information and outreach packets mailed to more than 1,000 employers in the greater-Seattle area
- More than 3,000 posters in businesses and gathering places in the greater-Seattle area
- Dozens of e-mail update messages to more than 12,000 subscribers
- Rider alerts on buses, at park and rides and at bus stops
- WSDOT launched a blog on March 1 to encourage discussion about the project and answer questions posed by the public. In July we asked commuters to share their plans for avoiding congestion during the closures.
- Broad and deep advance media outreach starting with a public event kick-off in February and continues.
- During the closure we constantly fed construction and traffic updates to the media and held regular media availabilities.
Web site information
- We provided extensive project and traffic information on our Web site, including:
- We also worked with local government and transit agencies, and businesses to provide information and links on their Web sites.
- WSDOT coordinated with local community groups, businesses, the City of Seattle and transit, freight and Commute Trip Reduction groups to develop alternate routes and transit options.
- We worked with King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit and Pierce Transit to reroute buses off of I-5.
- We leased parking space from the city of Sumner, Pierce Transit, the federal General Services Administration and the Puyallup Fair to increase park and ride capacity.
- In early 2007 Sound Transit added a seventh Sounder car to all trains. Three of the four round-trip runs between Tacoma and Seattle have seven cars; the fourth train has six cars.
- Sound Transit used standing room on the Sounder trains to significantly increase capacity. Each car has approximately 148 seats, with a maximum capacity listed by the manufacturer as 365.
- The northbound right lane on Airport Way from S. Spokane Street to S. Royal Brougham Way was designated for large trucks, transit and vanpools.
- The August timing also worked in riders’ favor as this is a typically a time of year with spare capacity on transit.
- WSDOT encouraged businesses and freight to make/receive deliveries during off-peak times.
- We worked with King County Metro to enhance Elliott Bay Water Taxi service by increasing vessel capacity, shuttle service and adding an additional morning run.
- Washington State Ferries made a number of vessel and schedule changes to respond to the I-5 construction. These changes include an increase in passenger-only sailings.
- We worked with the Coast Guard to extend the restrictions for marine traffic at the First Avenue South Bridge. No marine openings will be allowed from 6 a.m. to noon, and from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays Aug. 13 through 29.
- Emergency vehicles used the designated truck/transit/vanpool only lane on Airport Way South. We’re working with the Washington State Patrol and Seattle Police Department to keep traffic moving to make sure these vehicles are able to get through.
- WSDOT increased the number of Incident Response Teams in the construction zone. An additional two IRT trucks in this area will ensure any disabled vehicles or accident scenes are cleared quickly.
- Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol officers helped enforce safe driving through impacted areas. Additional Washington State Patrol troopers will be performing emphasis patrols to deter aggressive drivers; they will also be available for accident response. City of Seattle officers will be patrolling city streets and flagging, and will be available to take action if problems occur on popular alternate routes.
- As needed, Seattle Department of Transportation crews have freshened up striping on city streets prior for easier visibility.
- We reduced the speed limit through the construction zone to 45 mph.