Seattle is a happening town...

by guest blogger Mike Allende
…..and this weekend, well, there’s going to be plenty happening!

Big events at CenturyLink Field, the Washington State Convention Center and a foot race from the Seattle Center to Fremont could draw up to 63,000 people into the city. Knowing that, our contractor crews will work around the big events to push forward on important safety and pavement repair projects on Interstate 5, the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

So with three events happening, why do we have three significant closures on the same weekend? Great question!

Unfortunately, as our years are currently constructed, there are only 52 weekends available and a ton of maintenance and preservation work to get done. Closures aren’t fun for anyone, but neither is poor pavement. We have several more large projects this summer and it’s all vital. We’ve been working since the first weekend of January to try to get it all done this year.

To try to make this a little easier, we have a few tricks up our sleeve. First, we’ve got a detour route mapped out for the West Seattle Bridge/I-5 ramp closure. We’ll also be driving it during the closure to see it needs tweaking. We’ve also worked with the City of Seattle to adjust the signals on the detour route.  For I-5 drivers, we’re keeping the express lanes open southbound all weekend.

Make sure you plan ahead this weekend. The best thing you can do is plan ahead. If you’re if need to head south on I-5, wait until after 10 a.m. Wherever your travels take you, know before you go.  Stay plugged in, check the Seattle Traffic page, our WSDOT mobile app.

So, what exactly is happening? Here you go:
·         Thursday night to Sunday morning: Three out of four lanes of southbound I-5 from 65th Street to the Ship Canal bridge will be closed as crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation replace concrete panels and do some pavement grinding. The southbound 45th/50th Street off-ramp will also be closed. Closure times will be from 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, from 10 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday, and from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.
·         Friday night to Monday morning: The West Seattle Bridge ramp to southbound I-5 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday as crews replace three expansion joints. Drivers will still be able to reach southbound I-5 by using lower Spokane Street or can get off at 4th Avenue South and follow a short detour.
·         Saturday and Sunday: The Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed for its semi-annual maintenance from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday.


But there’s more:
·         Sounders: The Seattle Sounders play their season-opener at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the Montreal Impact at CenturyLink Field and could draw nearly 40,000 fans.
·         Hot Chocolate: The Hot Chocolate Run – a new foot race – will take place Sunday starting at 6:45 a.m. The race starts at the Seattle Center, goes through parts of the north end of downtown, across the Aurora Bridge and into Fremont. The race could draw more than 3,000 runners.
·         Comicon: Emerald City Comicon runs Friday to Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center and expects to draw 20,000 people.

We will have more big closures coming up. With the Sounders and Mariners starting and the usual amount of Seattle fun, this weekend is a great chance to prepare. All of the work is going to lead to better commutes for everyone. We’ll do our part, and with your help, we’ll get through these projects with as minimal of headaches as possible.