After two rainouts, it appears most southbound I-5 lanes in Sodo will close this weekend as the state replaces clanging expansion joints.
It’s just one of three major traffic disruptions, along with construction in Montlake and Mountlake Terrace.
This episode of Sodo roadwork by the Washington State Department of Transportation is focused on four steel joints in the I-5 southbound lanes, just beyond the Columbia Way exit, where one of the clanging steel joints bent upward in April.
But lane reductions will begin near the stadiums, while traffic jams could extend back to Lake Union. Work begins at 8 p.m. Friday, going all day Saturday and Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday. Drivers will merge into one lane before the work zone.
The National Weather Service forecast finally calls for ideal conditions, mostly sunny and a high of 66 degrees Saturday. Reasonably dry weather is needed to apply synthetic concrete edges to decks built in the mid-1960s, and to install silicone joint linings between the decks.
This is the first of 16 planned closures, weather permitting, through the end of summer. All I-5 lanes will remain open for Memorial Day weekend, University of Washington graduation ceremonies June 11-12 and the Juneteenth, Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends. Despite a late start, WSDOT hopes to finish the Sodo work this year, by stretching its September completion to October, said spokesperson Tom Pearce.
The I-5 express lanes will close Saturday for drain cleaning from 6 a.m. until 4:15 p.m., Pearce said. Besides reducing southbound options in the morning, there may be a greater impact on the crowded northbound direction, which won’t find the usual relief when express lanes open north at 1:45 p.m.
Drivers can detour into the Highway 99 tunnel, where weekend tolls are only $1.15 for Good to Go pass holders and $3.15 for others.
In other roadwork, the Montlake Bridge will close from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, conflicting with the two-day U District Street Fair on 10 blocks of University Way Northeast. Visitors will also find a new bus-only red lane and one fewer general-traffic lane eastbound where Northeast 45th Street approaches UW.
The Seattle Department of Transportation encourages fairgoers to arrive on light-rail trains at U District or UW light-rail stations, bicycle using the Burke-Gilman Trail or ride the King County Metro Route 44 bus from Ballard in that red lane.
A few miles north, Sound Transit will close northbound I-5 lanes overnight at Mountlake Terrace from 11 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, from 11 p.m. Saturday until 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and from 11 p.m. Sunday until 4 a.m. Monday. Crews will remove temporary steel beams, known as falsework, that were used to support construction of a light-rail overpass.
Washington State Ferries remain on reduced “alternate” service because of long-term shortages of crew and boats. The wait to leave Edmonds or Kingston, where only a single vessel is promised, reached two hours Thursday afternoon.