SEATTLE -- You can't drive northbound I-5 into Seattle this weekend -- it's closed.
With two Mariners games this weekend, a music festival and an overall sunny weekend when most people want to head into Seattle for sightseeing and other recreational activities, this weekend’s full shutdown of northbound I-5 from the West Seattle Bridge to Olive Way will mean long commutes all around Seattle.
“Everything is going to be heavy this weekend,” said Tom Pearce, with the Washington State Department of Transportation.
This weekend is the first of three full shutdowns of northbound I-5.
WSDOT began gradually shutting down northbound lanes Friday night as it moved to a full closure. The lanes won't be reopened until 5 a.m. Monday.
“We’re going to be replacing concrete in three locations,” said Pearce, who added that crews will replace nine expansion joints and repair and replace aging concrete.
“It’s wearing out, we have rebar showing in some places, we need to get in, pull that concrete out and put in new concrete,” said Pearce.
If past weekends of partial closures that resulted in six- to eight-mile backups are any indication of what this weekend’s full closure could bring, Pearce says no matter what route you choose, it’s going to be a very long trip.
Interstate “405 will bear the brunt of it,” said Pearce. He says although traffic will likely be slow on I-405, it’s still a great option to take northbound, then take either State Route 520 or I-90 across Lake Washington into Seattle.
He adds that State Routes 99, 509 and 599 are also good alternate routes to take toward Seattle.
The closure will have a ripple effect onto surface streets ,which Pearce says will also see slowdowns and backups all around Seattle.
WSDOT says if you don’t have to head into Seattle, it may just be best to stay out of the city this weekend.
"All of our detours are going to be really crowded this weekend as well, drivers need to really think about if they need to make a trip," Pearce said.
For those attending Mariners games over the weekend, light rail will offer free rides to passengers who show baseball tickets.
To see larger version of map above, click here.
Here are the closure details from WSDOT:
- Northbound I-5 lane closures will begin at the I-405 interchange near Southcenter before tapering down to a single lane that will exit at the West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Street/Spokane Street.
- All on-ramps to northbound I-5 between southbound I-405 and South Michigan Street except from eastbound SR 518 will close at 8 p.m. Friday.
The SR 518 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will remain open all weekend.
The northbound I-5 off-ramps all will remain open between southbound 405 and the closure at the West Seattle Bridge/Spokane Street/Columbian Way exit.
The northbound express lanes will open afternoons with access only from the downtown on-ramps.
A single lane of traffic will be able to enter northbound I-5 from the West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Street/Spokane Street on-ramp before heading into downtown.
- At the Duwamish River Bridge, three right lanes will be closed.
- At the southbound I-5 Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge, the two left lanes will be closed from 3 a.m. to noon Saturday. The two right lanes and the 45th Avenue Northeast on-ramp will be closed from 3 to 11 a.m. Sunday.
Upcoming weekend closures:
- July 13-16: Full northbound I-5 closure
- August 10-13: Two lanes open