Drivers entering Seattle from the south might want to change their plans the next two weekends, while a big repair project squeezes traffic to a trickle.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) will replace four expansion joints on northbound Interstate 5, between South Albro Place and the West Seattle Bridge exit.
Starting at 8 p.m. Friday, crews will shut down lanes until only two of the five northbound lanes are open to traffic, until 5 a.m. Monday. The same will happen late Friday, April 5 until Monday, April 8. The Swift Avenue South onramp to I-5 will close, and I-5 will be down to only one through lane from midnight to 4 a.m.
The I-90 express lanes will point west the entire weekend — so drivers may take I-405 from Southcenter to Bellevue, then turn west to reach the I-90 bridge into Seattle, said DOT spokesman Travis Phelps. Another option is the northbound exit at Tukwila to Highway 599.
To avoid severe delays, about 60 percent of drivers will need to detour, said engineer Aleta Borschowa. About 96,000 vehicles per weekday pass through, while weekend traffic is often heavy and slow mid-day.
These closures are part of the $4.5 million Spokane Street interchange repair project that has been underway most weekends of early 2013.
Expansion joints are gaps in the road deck that allow I-5’s elevated spans to thermally expand and contract without cracking. Each joint is covered with a steel strip to prevent erosion on the ends. On I-5, many strips are nearly 50 years old.
“If we don’t fix them, they could pop up,” Phelps said.