Highway 520 road lanes will close for weekend construction at the future Montlake interchange lid, at the same time southbound Interstate 5 operates at lower capacity south of downtown Seattle.
This traffic mess will overlap with crowds of up to 48,000 baseball fans when the Mariners, who are in the playoff race this year, host the Cleveland Guardians and celebrate Ichiro Weekend at T-Mobile Park. Games are at 7:10 p.m. Friday, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, and 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Saturday’s game, when Ichiro will be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame, is sold out.
Sound Transit announced Friday it will return to full service, with trains every 10 minutes apart, on Saturday morning, after contractors finished installing new tiles at Columbia City Station sooner than expected.
Travelers already have endured several weekends of Sodo lane shutdowns on I-5, ample opportunity to learn new options or stay home.
Still, traffic in most state highways is back to pre-pandemic levels. The snarls Thursday evening looked like the 2010s, clogging downtown from Pioneer Square nearly up to Belltown, as afternoon commuters, Mariners fans leaving a day game, and people heading to The Weeknd concert at Lumen Field vied for road space.
Highway 520 closures will last from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, between I-5 in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast at Yarrow Point, says the Washington State Department of Transportation. Crews are adding 24 girders and temporarily realigning highway lanes below the Montlake interchange, part of a $455 million freeway segment to be finished in 2023.
The bike lane of Highway 520 and connecting trails will remain open across the lake this weekend, project spokesperson Steve Peer said Friday.
Southbound I-5 is reduced to just one lane through the Sodo work zone, from 7:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will replace expansion joints on the left side of the freeway. That means all traffic will move through the right-side collector-distributor lanes, and all connecting ramps to I-90 will stay open. The I-5 express lanes will point north all weekend. After this, five more Sodo repair weekends are expected for 2022.
Baseball fans can ride gameday Sounder commuter trains from Snohomish, South King and Pierce counties to the ballpark Sunday; see soundtransit.org for schedules.
Speaking of the Mariners, fans late Saturday night might be caught in a pickle by overnight construction at northbound I-5. WSDOT has changed the work start to 10 p.m. instead of the originally announced 11:59 p.m., giving crews two more hours until the 5 a.m. reopening. Traffic will be diverted into the right-side collector-distributor lanes so crews can build a left-side barrier along the mainline, said spokesperson Amy Moreno. Though the express lanes point north, those close at 11 p.m. Saturday until Sunday morning. Another overnight shutdown is planned from 11 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday. WSDOT is widening the I-5 northbound mainline from two lanes to three in the Seneca Street bottleneck.
WSDOT doesn’t plan to perform I-5 work and close lanes on Labor Day weekend.