SEATTLE — Drivers, brace yourselves. Revive I-5 lane closures are back this weekend as crews complete expansion joint and paving work.
Southbound Interstate 5 will be down to two lanes on Friday night and Saturday and one lane on Sunday between Interstate 90 and Spokane Street in Seattle.
The lane reductions will run from Friday at 7 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m.
Lane closures on mainline I-5 will start near Freeway Park.
The collector/distributor ramp to southbound I-5 will be closed, although all off-ramps will remain open with the last exit at Airport Way. Exits to Forest Street/Sixth Avenue and Spokane Street/Columbian Way will be closed along with the eastbound and westbound I-90 ramps to southbound I-5.
Cars trying to get from I-90 to southbound I-5 will be detoured onto northbound I-5 before exiting at James Street and getting back on southbound I-5.
Why are I-5 lanes closed?
The work is part of a two-year rehabilitation project, which is itself one of more than 20 restoration projects the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has planned for the I-5 corridor in King County.
The “Revive I-5” project is slated to take at least 10 years and includes up to 16 weekends of southbound lane closures from 2021 to 2022.
Some of the work includes rehabilitation for the one and a quarter miles of interstate between I-90 and Spokane Street as well as the replacement of 40 expansion joints, which allow the highway to expand and contract depending on weather conditions and flex under the weight of heavy vehicles.
The rehabilitation work, according to WSDOT, includes repaving the one and a quarter-mile stretch, which hasn’t been rehabilitated in almost 55 years.
Over the more than five decades, cars drove deep tire grooves into the roadway, which can create spaces for water to pool, according to WSDOT. The grooves can cause vehicles to hydroplane and, when they freeze, create pockets of ice which cause vehicles to slide.
Work for this part of the project began in May 2021 and is expected to be completed in fall 2022.
Drivers planning to travel along I-5 this weekend should be prepared for delays or seek alternate routes.
Before heading out the door, check travel times here.