BELLEVUE – Construction crews install another 22 huge concrete girders this weekend for a new lidded overpass in Medina, closing the State Route 520 floating bridge and highway Saturday night through Monday morning for the work.
University of Washington Husky fans still will be able to get to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff before the road closes for construction. Leaving after the game will require more planning.
Crews close all westbound SR 520 highway lanes and ramps at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, from Interstate 405 in Bellevue across the floating bridge to Montlake Boulevard in Seattle. Eastbound lanes close at 1 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, to better allow Husky traffic to return to the Eastside after the game. SR 520 will remain open between Interstate 5 and Montlake Boulevard, and from I-405 east to Redmond.
“SR 520 is a key route to Husky Stadium and we want to help fans get to and from the game as best we can,” said Brian Dobbins, Washington State Department of Transportation construction manager for the SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project. “After the game, fans will want to head out as soon as possible if they want to cross the lake on eastbound SR 520. Once the highway is closed, they’ll need to take I-90 or go around the lake.”
Fortunately, clocks change for daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday, which gives workers an additional hour for work this weekend, Dobbins said. Once the road is closed, crews will position two large cranes on the highway and begin their work to carefully install this next batch of girders at Evergreen Point Road. All lanes and ramps are scheduled to reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7.
Drivers should plan ahead for traffic congestion in Seattle. In addition to the SR 520 closure, the city of Seattle plans to close the on- and off-ramps to Mercer Street for weather-dependent construction from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. The heaviest traffic is expected on I-5 and I-90 heading into Seattle and on I-405 approaching I-90. WSDOT is adjusting the I-90 and I-5 express lane schedules to help improve traffic flow Sunday.
The weekend work is part of the $306 million Eastside Transit and HOV Project, which includes building three lanes in each direction of SR 520 from Medina to Bellevue. The project also rebuilds interchanges, creates new highway lids and transit stops in the center of the highway and installs fish-passable culverts. Construction started in February. Complete SR 520 highway construction closures are limited to no more than 20 weekends through December 2013.
The 22 girders to be installed this weekend come in two sizes and will placed in equal numbers – 11 above the eastbound lanes and 11 above the westbound lanes. They measure 70 feet and 142 feet long and weigh 48 tons and 106 tons, respectively. Crews previously installed 24 girders the weekend of Oct. 15-17.
Besides installing girders in Medina, crews plan to widen the median work zone area east of 84th Avenue Northeast – a move that will shift westbound traffic slightly to the right starting Monday morning. Also starting Monday, only buses will be allowed in the westbound HOV lane west of 92nd Avenue Northeast. New signs will direct carpools and vanpools to merge into general purpose lanes at that location. The work zone will allow crews to begin building an improved highway overpass similar to the one under construction at Evergreen Point Road.
SR 520 closure details at a glance
· SR 520 mainline and floating bridge
o Westbound SR 520 lanes and ramps close from 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, to 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7, between I-405 in Bellevue across the floating bridge to Montlake Boulevard in Seattle.
o Eastbound SR 520 lanes and ramps close at 1 a.m. Sunday, and will reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7.
· SR 520 ramps: All SR 520 ramps in the construction zone closed through the weekend, except the 108th Avenue Northeast ramp to eastbound SR 520 remains open.
· Still open: SR 520 remains open to traffic from I-5 to Montlake Boulevard, and from I-405 east to Redmond.
· Closure information and detour maps are online.
Night work is planned, and residents near the work zone are likely to hear construction noise. Weekend closure details are available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/WeekendClosures.
Special I-90 and I-5 express-lane operations
Sunday, Nov. 6
· The I-90 express lanes open westbound from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, and switch to eastbound by 3 p.m.
· The I-5 express lanes open southbound from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, and switch to northbound by 3 p.m.
· The typical express-lane schedule is posted online, as well as this weekend’s altered schedule. Key alternate routes for drivers heading to Seattle from the south end include SR 509, SR 599, East Marginal Way South, Airport Way South and Fourth Avenue South. Express-lane details are at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Northwest/King/ExpressLanes/SpecialEvents.
Tools for drivers
· Seattle area traffic: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle
· Traffic cameras: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic
· Travel alerts: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/trafficalerts
· Traffic products for your mobile phone and other wireless devices: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle/products
· Follow WSDOT on Twitter: @wsdot and @wsdot_traffic for Puget Sound traffic.
· Call 511 for traffic updates.
· Tune to highway advisory radio and watch electronic highway signs for information.
More information about the SR 520 Eastside project is online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202.