Drivers in Seattle will face another weekend of slowdowns while workers resume repairs to southbound Interstate 5 in Sodo.

Through traffic will shrink to just two lanes Friday night and Saturday on the left side of the elevated freeway decks. Then on Sunday, just the far left lane will remain open, while paving teams work their way from right to left.

Lane closures from downtown to the West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Way exit begin at 7 p.m. Friday and end at 5 a.m. Monday.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Madrona Venture Group and PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Drivers may pass downtown in the collector-distributor lanes on the right side, but must exit to either eastbound Interstate 90, Dearborn Street, Edgar Martinez Drive or Airport Way.

I-90 ramps into southbound I-5 will be closed, as will the I-5 exits to Forest Street, the West Seattle Bridge route and Columbian Way.

Advertising

I-5 express lanes will operate as usual, pointing southbound from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and northbound from 1:45 p.m. to 11 p.m., said Tom Pearce, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation.


Similar work in late June created traffic jams of 4 to 5 miles approaching downtown, and delays of a few minutes on I-405 when drivers detoured east of Seattle, Pearce said. The state suggests that travelers use Sound Transit light rail, buses, carpools or rescheduling trips to avoid the congestion.

WSDOT is spending $27.5 million in gasoline-tax income to rehab the worn-out 1 1/4-mile corridor, built in the mid-1960s.

During the July 31-Aug. 1 weekend, contractors will begin to replace 40 steel expansion joints using modern epoxy and silicone fillings, which have proven durable since 2007 in the northbound lanes. Drivers can expect occasional weekend lane closures throughout 2021 and 2022.