A state project to widen Interstate 405 through Kirkland to ease the daily "Kirkland Crawl" traffic jam is on track to begin construction...

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A state project to widen Interstate 405 through Kirkland to ease the daily “Kirkland Crawl” traffic jam is on track to begin construction this spring, a year earlier than planned.

Gov. Christine Gregoire, state Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald and Kirkland Mayor Mary-Alyce Burleigh gathered on the Northeast 100th Street overpass yesterday to sign a contract with Kiewit Construction to design and build the project’s first stage.

The “Kirkland Nickel Improvement Project” will add a new northbound lane between Northeast 70th Street and Northeast 124th Street and a new southbound lane between highways 522 and 520. The Northeast 116th Street interchange will be reconfigured for more efficient traffic flow.

The project is one of several I-405 improvements funded by the state’s 2003 nickel gas-tax increase.

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The state is working on another Kirkland project with Sound Transit to add a new I-405 overpass at Northeast 128th Street that will enable buses and car pools to exit and enter the freeway directly from the diamond lanes rather than merge across several lanes of traffic to do so.

— Karen Gaudette