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October 30, 2013 at 8:55 AM
UPDATE 9:10 a.m.:
Things are improving for commuters heading in Seattle on southbound I-5.
The commute, which had been more than 100 minutes at one point this morning, is down to just over an hour, according to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The average morning commute time from Lynnwood to Seattle on I-5 south is 43 minutes.
Brace yourself. The morning commute’s been ugly.
Motorists heading south from Lynnwood to Seattle on Interstate 5 should expect it to take them more than 100 minutes, yes, more than an hour and a half.
There’s no real reason for the delay, other than a small crash on I-5 near Yesler earlier this morning. Oh, yeah, there’s that.
Although the accident was cleared by 8 a.m., it caused a 16-mile backup on southbound I-5, said Bart Treece, WSDOT spokesman.
A spokesman for the State Patrol said nobody was hurt in the I-5 crash.
Treece was working on pulling the average travel time from Lynnwood to Seattle during the morning commute.
September 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM
UPDATE 2:45 P.M. | The U.S. Coast Guard says the woman they rescued is in good condition after a 25-foot Seattle-based Coast Guard boat spotted her in the water. Coast Guard spokesman Nathan Littlejohn said the woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center.
The Seattle Fire Department says she is in stable condition.
A 45-foot Coast Guard boat, Coast Guard helicopter and Seattle Harbor Patrol boat also assisted in the rescue.
UPDATE 2:20 P.M. | A person who reportedly jumped off a Bainbridge Island ferry has been recovered from the water and taken by a Coast Guard boat to Seattle, according to a passenger aboard the Wenatchee. His condition was not immediately known.
“We saw the boats converge on something,” said passenger Karen Collins. “Later they told us on the speaker it takes a lot of people to pull this off, and thanked passengers for their role in helping him to get on his road to recovery.”
After being stopped to help search for the person for about 45 minutes, the ferry Wenatchee is again on its way from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, she said.
ORIGINAL POST: Rescuers are searching for a man witnesses say jumped off a ferry after it had departed Seattle for Bainbridge Island this afternoon.
Though the report of a passenger’s fall into Puget Sound about halfway through its trip after a 1:10 departure is still unconfirmed, two of the Wenatchee ferry’s rescue boats and the Coast Guard have been called to search nearby waters for the man, said Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division.
The Tacoma ferry scheduled to leave Seattle at 2:05 p.m. left early to help search as well, she said.
August 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM
UPDATE, 5:24 p.m. | A portion of North Cascades Highway from the winter gate closure at milepost 147 to Rainy Pass at the Chelan County line is closed indefinitely, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The roadway will remain closed indefinitely because of incoming storms and multiple rock and mud slides in the area.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m. | Several rock and mud slides have blocked North Cascades Highway from the winter gate closure at milepost 147 to Rainy Pass at the Chelan County line. The highway will remain closed until Monday while crews continue to clear the road.
ORIGINAL POST | A portion of North Cascades Highway is closed until Monday because of a rock slide.
The slide at State Route 20, commonly known as North Cascades Highway, blocked the roadway four miles west of Rainy Pass, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT crews are on the scene but say additional resources will be needed to clear the highway.
WSDOT estimates the roadway will reopen in both directions around 2 p.m. Monday.
July 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM
This weekend, the northbound and southbound ramps from Interstate 5 to Corson Avenue South will close, in the first of 11 weekend disruptions of I-5 alongside Beacon Hill or Capitol Hill.
The Corson job runs from noon Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, when motorists are advised to detour by using the nearby Albro-Swift exits.
Contractors will be replacing steel expansion joints that have worn out or been patched since the freeway opened in the 1960s. Three ramps will be resurfaced. Similar work was done south of downtown this winter and spring.
Expansion joints are gaps between spans of a road bridge, so the decks can expand or contract without cracking when the weather changes. The deck edges are reinforced to prevent erosion and enable smoother driving.
There will be a total five weekend ramp closures at Corson, all starting at noon Fridays. Another four at the northbound exit to the West Seattle Bridge and South Spokane Street will begin at 10 p.m. Fridays. Two partial closures are planned on the mainline of northbound I-5 just north of Mercer Street, in late August and early September, when up to three lanes would close by midnight on Fridays. Other overnight lane closures are possible.
A project website is linked here.
February 1, 2013 at 7:06 PM
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Seattle-area traffic maps and cameras will be out of service tonight as crews upgrade five miles of fiber optic system cables.
The cameras will be down from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., WSDOT said in a release.
“The disruption will also limit engineers’ ability to remotely monitor traffic signals and confirm traffic incidents from the WSDOT traffic management center in Shoreline,” the release says.
The upgrade is part of a project that is widening the east side of state Route 520 and improving HOV lanes, according to WSDOT.
January 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM
If you can’t avoid driving around Western Washington tonight and tomorrow morning, make sure you’re driving as slowly and as carefully as you can.
Although not much more precipitation is expected tonight and early Friday morning, freezing temperatures at sea level and above could turn any remaining moisture on the roads into ice, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Johnny Burg.
Seattle’s low for tonight is expected to be 30 while Bellevue and areas east of that could see temperatures in the high- to mid-20s, Burg said. If it does snow anywhere in Snohomish, King or Pierce counties, it will probably be less than an inch.
At least 12 King County trucks and several crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation are prepared to lay anti-icers on roads most prone to freezing over.
WSDOT spokesman Greg Phipps said their crews will focus on areas that tend to freeze over first such as freeway ramps, bridges and overpasses. They’ll start laying anti-icer down after rush hour.
“If you do it now you’ve got afternoon traffic that could take it off the road and if it rains later, that might wash it over the road,” Phipps said. “You want to time it right.”
The most important things anyone can do to reduce accidents, Phipps said, is to drive slowly, leaving three times as much space as usual between you and other cars, and looking farther in the distance for possible road hazards.
“Don’t get overconfident because black ice is always an issue with these temperatures,” Phipps said. “Some people with SUVs, for example, get overconfident because their car is good in snow, but it isn’t any better than another car on ice.”
The icy conditions could continue through Saturday, which is expected to be just as cold if not colder, said Burg. Although Friday should be sunny in Seattle, the city’s forecasted low for the day is 28.
The mountain passes won’t get more than an inch or 2 of snow Friday, Burg said, and should be able to stay open. Phipps said that falling trees, which became a widespread threat on several Western Washington highways and freeways last month, shouldn’t be an issue either because of the light amount of snow expected.
Check for road closure and public transit updates here:
December 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Rather than wait for summer, the state Department of Transportation will start closing and retrofitting highway lanes in the gloom of winter, starting the night of Jan. 4 with a weekend closure of the southbound Interstate 5 offramp to the West Seattle Bridge.
There will be about 20 weekend closures through April at the I-5/West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Way interchange through April, to replace a total of 31 expansion joints in the overpass ramps, for $4.5 million. These closures generally begin at 10 p.m. Fridays and end 5 a.m. Mondays.
Expansion joints are the gaps between elevated spans — think of I-5 as hundreds of viaducts rather than a continuous roadbed. The gaps allow concrete to expand and contract with the weather. In many spots, steel covers over the joints either “ka-thunk” with passing traffic, or the DOT has removed them altogether. These will be replaced with rubber coverings, so that road runoff doesn’t damage the road decks or trickle onto drivers below. In one sign of freeway decline, a driver was hit in the chest earlier this year when a loose chunk of concrete flew off the freeway near Northgate and hit his windshield.
Here is a color-coded map (click link to enlarge it) that shows which parts of the I-5/West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Way interchange will close on which weekends:
In other big projects, the DOT or contractors will:
* Grind and smooth three lanes of southbound I-5 between Northeast 50th Street and Roanoke Street, while re-striping the freeway in both directions from Northgate to Roanoke, for nine weekend nights in February and March, from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., for $6.4 million. Lane closures will cause traffic delays.
* Tear out and replace a 470-foot long, timber-supported section of Highway 99 just south of the West Seattle Bridge, between late January and April. One of the two southbound lanes will be closed around the clock, while two northbound lanes stay open, while workers build a new span using concrete and Geofoam supports.
* Repair expansion joints and pavement on northbound I-5 near Lakeview Boulevard, in June. The northbound shoulder will be rebuilt so it can serve as a detour lane — and in one DOT concept, as a future “hard running” lane for transit or general traffic to reach the Highway 520 exit.
This homepage from the state DOT discusses several 2013 projects and contains links to maps.
December 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Highway 101 between Hoodsport and Brinnon is open again after crews cleared fallen trees and plowed icy parts of the road today, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The 25-mile segment was closed yesterday after heavy snow snapped several trees onto the roadway. A 15-mile segment of 101 between state Route 3 near Shelton and Hoodsport, and a 7-mile portion of State Route 106 between Purdy Cutoff Road and Alderbrook also reopened earlier today.
WSDOT crews will remain on 101 throughout the evening to provide traffic control for Mason County PUD crews while they continue efforts to restore power to the area between Jorsted Creek and Eagle Creek Road. They’ll also be applying de-icer compounds and other roadway treatments to combat the freezing temperatures and ice expected around Hood Canal tonight.
December 19, 2012 at 6:36 PM
Highways in the Mount Baker area and near Hood Canal have been closed after heavy snow caused scores of trees to fall across the roadway in the past 24 hours.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has closed the Mount Baker Highway (state Route 542) east of Maple Falls until at least Friday, excluding everyone except emergency personnel from the Mount Baker ski area.
Parts of Highways 101 and 106 in Mason County are closed as well until further notice. The 41-mile closure of 101 stretches from Route 3 near Shelton to Brinnon and the five-mile closure of Highway 106 stretches from Purdy Cutoff Road to East Dalby Road.
Transit workers tried to keep the roads open but couldn’t keep up with the number of trees falling onto the highways. Hazardous conditions have suspended efforts to clean up the roads any more today but workers will return tomorrow morning, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Crews say it’s unusual to see this many trees come down in such a short period of time.
November 19, 2012 at 4:58 PM
The Washington Transportation Department closed the North Cascades Highway at noon Monday because of heavy snow and avalanche danger.
The department says there were three slides and more than 4 inches of snow within 90 minutes.
The department says the closure is temporary, but the section of Highway 20 over the north Cascades typically closes for the winter this time of year.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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