The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reports that as I-5 work continues on the new flyover ramp connecting the Eastside to downtown Seattle, two lane reductions will stay in place longer than planned to ensure safety and to aid continued progress on the project.
- The lane reduction for westbound State Route 520 ramp to southbound Interstate 5 will extend until March 2024.
- The lane reduction on the express lanes will continue through October 2023.
The Washington State Department of Transportation reduced the westbound SR 520 ramp to southbound I-5 and the I-5 Express Lanes by one lane each in 2022 to provide space for Walsh Construction Company II, LLC crews building the new flyover ramp. WSDOT has agreed to let those reductions remain in place while work on the project continues.
“Safety is our agency’s number one priority. Extending these lane reductions is safer for both drivers and crews working in the project area,” said Project Engineer Shane Oden. “There is simply not enough room to complete the work safely if we remove the lane reductions.”
Timeline for I-5 lane reductions
The express lanes reduction will stay in place through Oct. 31, 2023, while the westbound SR 520 ramp to southbound I-5 reduction will remain until March 2024.
Schedule impacts associated with the concrete delivery strike (and lingering impacts), overall supply chain issues and severe weather impacts this winter played a role in the need for an extension.
“Restoring the additional lanes now would likely result in day and nighttime lane closures of the same areas later on, and lead to delays both for travelers and the project timeline,” Oden said.
What I-5 travelers can expect
The SR 520/I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project is nearing its completion and drivers will see some of the most significant visual changes in 2023. Though the ramp and reversible connection will not be open to transit use until the project’s expected completion in spring 2024, WSDOT anticipates in the next year:
- The new flyover ramp will be constructed, including associated retaining walls.
- The Mercer Street/I-5 interchange will be reconfigured to allow for a reversible connection to the express lanes.
- New electronic highway signs, called variable messaging systems, will be in place and activated upon the project’s completion in spring 2024.
WSDOT understands the public’s desire to have the lanes restored and will continue to work with Walsh to restore them as soon as possible. There will be some temporary weekend and weeknight closures of the Mercer Street on and off-ramps, northbound I-5, and the express lanes to complete this work. WSDOT will provide advance notification for any significant closure related to this project.
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