Traffic jams quickly stretched four miles from Shoreline to Northgate on Wednesday afternoon after the state suddenly closed two northbound lanes of I-5.
The freeway “is buckling and needs emergency repair,” the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted at 4:34 p.m. WSDOT tweeted around 6 p.m. that lanes were reopened with the work completed.
WSDOT spokesperson Bart Treece called the incident an “emergency response” which urban road-maintenance teams try to solve within a 90-minute standard.
“We are working to get it repaired as quickly as possible,” Treece said earlier Wednesday.
State traffic cameras, between Northeast 195th Street and Northeast 185th Street, showed incident response trucks arriving with workers and cones to close some lanes.
The site was near ongoing Sound Transit construction, including abutments that support future train overpasses. However, the damage appeared limited to the I-5 pavement, and unrelated to any soil movements during the nearby Lynnwood Link project, said Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher.
Traffic congestion flared up Wednesday throughout the usual hot spots in Seattle, Bellevue and Renton, worsened by a southbound crash on I-5 at Lynnwood, as volumes return to near pre-pandemic levels.