Northbound I-405 to close weekend of Sept. 24-25

by Barbara Ramey, Atkinson Construction

This closure has been canceled due to inclement weather in Sunday's forecast.

Monday morning to bring a new day, a new way for Bellevue drivers

If you drive northbound I-405 to SR 520 in Bellevue, you know it can be slower than molasses on a cold day. Motorists have come to expect slowdowns for up to eight hours a day, with 60,000 vehicles jockeying for position between NE Eighth Street and SR 520. Sitting in traffic, you have enough time to plan the evening’s dinner, mentally write your grocery list, and practically organize your sock drawer, if only in your head.

Maybe you’re not eager to race home and actually organize your sock drawer, but I bet you’re tired of the slog.

Relief is on the way.

One of the many signs alerting motorists
that NB I-405 will be closed Sept 24-25
Come September 26, it’s going to be a new day, a new way for drivers headed northbound on I-405 through Bellevue. But before that new day dawns, we will close northbound I-405 completely for the weekend, starting at 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, between NE Eighth Street and SR 520 in Bellevue. The freeway will open in time for the Monday morning commute.

What’s the hubbub about and why are we closing the freeway?

We’re connecting new ramps from downtown Bellevue to I-405 and SR 520. We need to close the freeway for the weekend to connect the new ramps and get all the paving and restriping done. And we’re doing it all in a weekend to open the new ramps nine months ahead of schedule, bringing drivers the benefits early and minimizing additional closures.

The new ramps, part of the $107.5 million Bellevue Braids Project, will eliminate the weave drivers now experience on northbound I-405. Driving that stretch in Bellevue won’t feel like molasses anymore. The changes will improve traffic flow and reduce congestion-related collisions. We’re pretty excited to be bringing drivers these benefits early.

Bottom line: You’re going to have to pay attention! Don’t think about that sock drawer. We’ll have more than 200 signs in and around Bellevue showing the way to go, but it may take you a few days to adjust to the change. If you slip up and follow old habits, you may end up in Kirkland when you wanted to go to Redmond. Once you’re used to it, we hope you’ll appreciate the improvements.

Here’s what you need to know: Starting Monday morning, Sept. 26, you’ll need to take new ramps to I-405 and SR 520 in Bellevue:
  • Going to SR 520? Use NE 10th Street. Drivers will no longer have access to SR 520 from NE Eighth Street.

  • Headed to I-405? Use NE Eighth Street. Drivers will use a longer ramp to reach northbound I-405.

  • Mainline drivers should prepare to exit to SR 520 nearly one-half mile earlier from northbound I-405.
In spring 2012, it’ll get even better, when crews will open another leg of the ramp to SR 520, east of 124th Ave NE. The ramp will allow drivers to bypass the busy 124th Ave NE, connecting to SR 520 at about 130th Ave NE. You’ll have even more time at home. Maybe by then, you’ll want to organize your sock drawer.