After weeks of warnings, the potential traffic nightmare surrounding ‘Revive I-5’ never materialized. For the most part, drivers avoided downtown Seattle.
All northbound lanes of I-5 closed Friday at 8 p.m. from the West Seattle Bridge to Olive Way. The lanes opened to traffic around 5 a.m. Monday.
“We really pushed the message the drivers need to be prepared and if they hadn't chosen these alternatives we would've seen massive back-ups,” said Tom Pearce of WSDOT.
“People may think that we over-hyped this, but we needed drivers to do something else. They heard the message they stayed away and that's why traffic wasn't so bad this time,” he said, pointing to a similar closure scheduled for next month.
WSDOT said project planners worked closely with the stadiums and downtown associations to find the fewest traffic conflicts. They suggest the following alternatives for drivers:
• Use public transportation
• Use light rail
• Carpool or vanpool
• Use state routes 99, 509, 518 and I-405 instead.
• Travel before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
• Move any discretionary travel to another weekend.
• Plan on spending the night in Seattle to avoid traveling during the closure.
The closure is a major component of "Revive I-5," a months-long renovation project by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Take a deeper dive into the reasons behind the closures on WSDOT's blog.
To accommodate as many projects as possible in the construction season, WSDOT said they look for opportunities to combine closures when appropriate.
The closure forced many drivers on surface streets like Airport Way or E. Marginal Way.
The goal of WSDOT's project is to replace 37 expansion joints. More closures are planned later this summer:
• July 13 - 16: Full northbound closure
• Aug. 10 - 13: Weekend lane reductions: Two lanes open
"We're going to need another good (weekend) in July though because if drivers revert to their old patterns in July, we're going to see heavy back-ups then," warned Pearce.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $51.2 million.
Westbound US 2 between Snohomish and Everett was scheduled to close Friday, but the work was postponed to June 23 due to inclement weather.