UPDATE 11:30 a.m. | A half-hour all lanes were reopened, southbound traffic on Interstate 5 was close to moving at a normal speed through downtown Seattle.
UPDATE 11 a.m. | All lanes were opened by 11 a.m.
UPDATE 10 a.m. | WSDOT says it will be another hour before the closed southbound I-5 lanes reopen to traffic.
UPDATE: 9 a.m.| Mike Allende, a WSDOT spokesman, said it is now taking two hours to travel from the Lynnwood area to Southcenter on Interstate 5. Crews hope to reopen the blocked lanes within an hour. The backup now stretches some 10 miles, “which is the longest I’ve ever seen it,” Allende said. Traffic on alternate routes, such as Interstate 405 and Highway 99, is also moving very slowly as drivers search for a way around. He said the trip from the Lynnwood area to Southcenter via Interstate 405 took 90 minutes.
UPDATE: 8 a.m. | At least three vehicles were damaged by hitting the metal plate, and others may have had tires punctured, said WSP Trooper Chris Webb. Webb said he had no reports of anyone injured.
Previous post: Drivers were urged to avoid southbound Interstate 5 through Seattle in this morning’s commute after a metal plate covering an expansion joint popped up shortly before 6 a.m., and was reportedly hit by vehicles.
“The backup is at least 10 miles and growing,” WSDOT spokesman Mike Allende said about 7:30 a.m. Three of five southbound lanes were closed, and traffic was also backed up in the Interstate 5 express lanes. Allende said it’s not clear what caused the plate to rise about calf-high from the roadway near the exit for Interstate 90. Southbound drivers were urged to take Highway 99, 15th Avenue Northwest or Interstate 405. Allende said crews hoped to reopen all lanes by 8:30.