Southbound Interstate 5 will shrink to just one lane in Sodo this weekend as workers replace seven expansion joints on the right side of the freeway and repave rough spots.
Transit will lose capacity, too, as Sound Transit will reduce light-rail train frequency to every 20 minutes in South Seattle so workers can replace broken tiles at Columbia City Station.
I-5 lane closures begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, blocking most southbound lanes until 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will work on the right, so drivers should stay left on the mainline through downtown. The left-edge high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane will be open to all traffic from downtown through the work zone. The right-side collector-distributor lanes will dead-end, so drivers there must exit at Airport Way or earlier.
The I-5 ramps toward Bellevue on eastbound Interstate 90 will remain open, but traffic from westbound I-90 won’t be able to merge onto southbound I-5.
Unlike many summer weekends, no major sports matches will complicate freeway traffic in Sodo.
However, Emerald City Comic Con, which attracted 98,000 visitors over four days in 2019, will fill the Seattle Convention Center downtown all weekend. At Climate Pledge Arena, The Killers rock band will perform Saturday night, followed by a Seattle Storm playoff game Sunday afternoon against the Washington Mystics. The Chinatown International District Block Party runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Six more construction weekends are needed, said spokesperson Amy Moreno of the Washington State Department of Transportation, but WSDOT is not planning any work for Labor Day weekend. Total I-5 traffic through Sodo averages about 215,000 vehicles per day.
Over at Sound Transit, contractors will replace cracked yellow tiles on the southbound passenger platform of Columbia City Station, from Friday morning until Sept. 1. People traveling in either direction from the station will need to use the northbound platform, where trains will alternate north and south.
Train capacity in the south end between Sodo and Angle Lake stations, including airport trips, will be reduced by half because of the Columbia City work.
However, light rail travel between Northgate and Stadium stations will remain on its usual timetable of one train every 10 minutes.
In another big project, southbound I-5 will be reduced to one lane Monday night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday near Kent-Des Moines Road, also known as Highway 516. During the closure, workers will temporarily repaint and change the lane positions to help with interchange construction.