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Major road closures throughout Puget Sound this weekend
The Washington State Department of Transportation is advising drivers this weekend to "leave early, then add an hour" in anticipation of major road and freeway closures in Renton, Seattle, Bellevue, Lake Stevens and Clearview in Snohomish County.
"We've packed a lot of construction into one weekend," said Lorena Eng, DOT regional administrator. "Drivers should check the web, plan alternate routes, stay on top of changing traffic conditions, and be prepared for longer than normal travel times."
The following closures will occurr this weekend:
• State Route 520 floating bridge and all connected ramps will be closed between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue from 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13. Crews will demolish the old Bellevue Way Northeast overpass and dig a 25-foot-deep trench to install a culvert beneath all lanes of the highway
• State Route 167 will be closed between I-405 and South 180th Street/Southwest 43rd Street from 7:30 p.m. Friday Aug. 10, to 4:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13. Crews will dig a 35-foot-deep trench to install a new culvert beneath that highway.
• State Route 9 between State Route 524 and 180th Street SE in Clearview will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, to install a culvert. The DOT notes the detour route is 8 miles long and will add 15 minutes or more to trips in that area.
• The intersection of State Route 92 and SR 9 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 7:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, for paving.
• The city of Seattle will close the southbound I-5 off-ramp at 85th Street from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 27, to pave 85th Street.
"Summer construction is tough to schedule, especially this type of work," said Eng, referencing the various culvert projects taking place this weekend. Those projects require low water levels and around-the-clock closures, according to the DOT.
While these closures will cause headaches for many, DOT traffic engineer Mark Leth said this weekend was an ideal time to get this work done.
"If we had to pick the best weekend to do this intense work, this is it," Leth said.
The reason for this, the DOT indicated, is because school is still out for the summer, and that many Puget Sound residents are on vacation.
The DOT warns that parallel routes, such as I-5, the West Valley Highway, I-90 and Snohomish County's State Route 527 will be busier than usual.
"To help keep traffic moving, we will change the I-90 express lanes hours to accommodate the Seahawks game, add more incident response teams throughout the construction areas, and designate the HOT lanes as HOV only on Highway 167," Leth noted.
For those planning to go to the Seahawks game Saturday night with its 7 p.m. start time, Eng advises that leaving at 4 p.m. is probably a prudent decision.
"It's not an over-statement to suggest that fans leave by 4 p.m.," she said. "The forecast is for 80 degrees. Enjoy all downtown Seattle has to offer you if you arrive early."
The DOT is advising drivers to stay updated on the latest traffic conditions through its web page dedicated to this weekend (www.wsdot.wa.gov).
DOT also has apps available for both iPhone and Android that allow users to have real-time updates on conditions and incidents on local roadways. Twitter users can find the DOT at @wsdot_traffic.
On the road, drivers can keep abreast of any developing situations by tuning into radio traffic reports, calling 511, or paying attention to the overhead freeway signs.
"We're prepared," Eng said. "We count on Puget Sound drivers to be prepared. When we ask for people to plug in and plan for construction, they do."