SEATTLE — A portion of eastbound State Route 520 will be closed this weekend so crews can implement lane closures and create a new construction work zone.
Eastbound SR 520 will be closed between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast on the Eastside from Friday at 11 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. The SR 520 on- and off-ramps at Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast will also be closed, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Westbound SR 520 will remain open this weekend.
Crews must close the roadway so they can reduce the eastbound lanes from three lanes to two. Lanes will also shift so crews have a work zone to build new eastbound lanes from Montlake Boulevard to the floating bridge.
Once eastbound SR 520 re-opens Monday morning, the configuration will stay in place for three to four years while construction is underway. Westbound SR 520 has been down to two lanes since Oct. 14.
The construction is part of a $455 million project to build a new lid and transit hub, rebuild the Montlake Boulevard interchange, and construct a bike and pedestrian bridge over SR 520 in addition to the new eastbound lanes. The old eastbound lanes were built in the 1960s and are seismically vulnerable, according to WSDOT. The new lanes will be wider and have an HOV lane and shoulder.
WSDOT expects commute times to increase once the lane closures go into effect.
Since the westbound closure began, drivers have seen five to 10-minute increases during peak travel times in the westbound general purpose lanes, according to WSDOT spokesperson Steve Peer. The most congested time is between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. Approximately 4,000 vehicles used the westbound SR 520 HOV lanes daily, and those cars now must merge with general purpose traffic.
Peer recommended drivers adjust their commute times to before 7 a.m. or after 8:30 a.m., carpool, use mass transit, or take the SR 520 trail to alleviate gridlock.