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520 bridge to close for weekend work

Get ready for more traffic drama this weekend.

Construction for the new Highway 520 bridge project will involve crews moving in 2 million pounds of concrete girders for a highway overpass, and they’re going to have to shut down the bridge and roadway to do it.

The details: All 520 lanes and ramps between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue will close Friday at 11 p.m. The lanes and ramps will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, in time for the planned Martin Luther King Jr. parade and rally in downtown Seattle.

Maps and more details about the construction:

Weather permitting, Interstate 5 ramps to and from Mercer Street in Seattle will close during the same time period as part of the city’s Mercer Street project. In addition, Mercer Street will be closed between Westlake Avenue North and Fairview Avenue North. And Fairview Avenue North will close between Mercer and Valley streets. Detours will be marked.

The University Street ramp onto I-5 will also be closed to ease traffic around the Mercer Street ramp closure.

For details on the Mercer Street project:

During the closures, travelers can expect traffic congestion on I-5 and alternate routes across and around Lake Washington.

The worst time to travel should be midday Saturday and Sunday on interstates 5 and 90 heading into Seattle and on I-405 approaching I-90. The express lane schedules on both highways will be changed to help traffic flow.

King County

Voter registration deadline near

The deadline is fast approaching to register for the Feb. 14 special election in six King County voting districts — Auburn, Federal Way, Renton, Tukwila and Vashon Island school districts, and King County Fire Protection District No. 10.

If you’re registering by mail, you should have the forms postmarked by Saturday because there is no mail service Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. To download a mail-in registration, go to

If you’re registering online, you have until Monday. To register online, go here:

If you miss those deadlines, you can register in person until Feb. 6.

To check your registration information or view a list of candidates and measures that will appear on your ballot, use Your Voter Guide on the King County Elections website ( Voters can also check their registration information by calling the King County Voter Hotline at 206-296-VOTE (8683).

If you’re already registered but forgot to update your address online by the Monday deadline, you can still vote in the district where you are currently registered.


Bill on smoking in cars with kids

Lawmakers are trying again to prohibit smoking in cars while children are present.

Senate Bill 5016 was introduced last session by the late Sen. Scott White and was reintroduced this week.

Under the bill, smoking in a vehicle while anyone under 18 years old is present would be a secondary traffic infraction. That means police could cite violators only after pulling them over for some other reason.

White, the prime sponsor of SB 5016 last year, died in October of a cardiac arrest. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, said she plans to push forward White’s bill this year.

If the bill were to pass, Washington would join four other states that prohibit smoking in cars when minors are present: California, Louisiana, Arkansas and Maine.

Under the current bill, only verbal warnings may be issued for the first six months.


Public defender named to bench

Gov. Chris Gregoire says she’s appointing Marybeth Dingledy to the Snohomish County Superior Court bench to replace Judge Ronald Castleberry who is retiring at the end of the month.

Dingledy has been a public defender in Everett the past 16 years. She began her legal career in 1995 as King County deputy prosecutor.


Be on lookout for wounded goose

A Washington state wildlife rescue group is asking people in the Olympia area to help watch for a Canada goose with an arrow through its breast.

Workers with the state and the For Heaven’s Sake Wildlife Rescue in a small boat tried to grab the bird Wednesday in Capitol Lake, but it flew away.

The Olympian reports ( they were surprised the bird could take to the air with an arrow through its body.

For Heaven’s Sake’s director says the goose is likely still in the area. Searchers hope to find it and take it to a veterinarian.


Former mayor wants back pay

Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner is requesting back pay for her last two years in office.

Verner voluntarily cut her own pay from $170,000 to $100,000 while in office, but now is seeking to collect an extra $140,000.

She also wants her pension to reflect the $170,000 a year she would have been making. That would increase her monthly pension from $1,400 to $2,400. City officials are considering the request.

Times staff and news services