Bear with us Kirkland, we’re almost done!

by guest blogger Steve Peer

We are rebuilding the NE 116th Street railroad bridge
(just west of I-405) in phases to avoid completely closing it.
To keep traffic moving (although slow), crews have reduced
the bridge to two lanes as part of the first phase of construction.
Doing this has caused periods of severe congestion in the area. 
Totem Lake residents – have you been wondering what we are doing on NE 116th Street near 120th Avenue NE? Tired of the backups? Bear with us – things will get better by the end of the month.

For the past year, we’ve been building the I-405 – NE 116th Street Interchange and Street Improvement Project. Once complete, the project will improve how drivers get to and from I-405 at NE 116th Street and reduce NE 116th Street backups during the morning and afternoon commutes.

As you may have noticed, the project is bringing short-term term pain to area drivers. Since April, a couple of highly-used turn lanes on NE 116th Street near 120th Avenue NE have been closed as crews work to completely rebuild the bridge over the railroad. The result has been periods of severe congestion in the area. We’ve heard from drivers who tell us they’re simply avoiding the area. The good news is that both turn lanes will re-open to traffic in the next few weeks. While there will still be construction in the area, travel times should return to near normal.  We appreciate your patience as we finish this important phase of work.

When the project wraps up at the end of the year, we will have added:
  • three lanes to sections of NE 116th Street,
  • two bicycle lanes, 
  • newly planted native trees and plants, 
  • new sidewalks, 
  • a new water detention pond for better, greener water runoff, and
  • improved area lighting for pedestrians.  
We’ll also add by subtraction. When the project opens up in December, drivers will notice one less traffic signal in the area. Drivers will use a consolidated single point traffic flow system (pdf)  (instead of two) allowing for a smoother ride going to and coming from I-405.

Visit the project website for more information about key project elements and benefits.