Exit only lane to Southcenter and I-5 coming soon

by Guest Blogger Steve Peer

We’ve received several comments about the new lane opening on southbound I-405 between SR 167 and I-5 in Renton as part of the I-405 Renton Stage 1 project. While many drivers have told us traffic flow has really improved, they’ve also let us know they don’t like the signs or striping. So we are going to fix that as soon as we get some dry nights.

Here’s what’s going on:
Drivers tell us they’re unsure which lane they need to be in as they approach the I-5/Southcenter area and this confusion is leading to some last minute lane changes. 

Here’s what we’re doing:
The right lane will become an exit only lane to Southcenter/northbound I-5 and we’ll restripe the freeway to allow for a longer distance for vehicles to enter. Vehicles travelling to Seattle and Southcenter will have a dedicated exit only lane, while the two middle lanes will continue toward the airport or southbound I-5. The carpool lane, which currently allows drivers to continue on to northbound I-5, will remain unchanged. We’ll also change overhead signs to direct drivers which lane to get into.  Our goal is to let people know well before the intersection to avoid collisions and congestion.

Give ‘em a brake!
To make these changes, crews need a few dry nights to restripe the area and change the signs.  They’ll close a few lanes to accomplish this so if you’re in the Southcenter at night during these closures, please slow down and give the crews a brake.  For more info on nightly construction closures please check out our I-405 - Construction Updates Web site.  

We always appreciate driver feedback. It can be one of the best ways to see how well our system is working. So keep the comments coming!

UPDATE: January 25th, 2009:
This morning many drivers experienced a new lane arrangement at the intersection of southbound I-405 to I-5. After reviewing the area and listening to the suggestion of drivers, we changed how the intersection works. Traditionally it takes a few run-throughs for drivers to get used to changes – so we expect by the end of the week drivers will adapt to the new exit only lane. Also, by the time commuters hit the road on their way home this afternoon, we’ll add a few temporary message signs to give drivers advance warning of the changes.

We have one more item to check off our list before we call this job done. We need to modify a sign that directs drivers to the exit only lane. The sign modification has been ordered and should be up within the next month or two.

For now, we’re asking drivers to proceed with caution in the area and watch for other vehicles merging as they head to northbound I-5 and Southcenter from I-405.