Highway 520 bridge closes this weekend for construction work


The Highway 520 bridge, pictured here on April 25, 2016, will be closed this weekend to remove old “ramps to nowhere.” (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

A full closure of the Highway 520 bridge leads this weekend’s list of road delays and detours, for a region where it’s rare for the entire highway network to stay open.

• The 520 bridge and highway will close both directions between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and the Eastside at 92nd Avenue Northeast, from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Contractors will resume their demolition of the “ramps to nowhere” built near Foster Island in 1963, and remove old toll gantries on the east shore.

• Interstate 5 express lanes, southbound from Northgate to downtown Seattle, will close Saturday and Sunday mornings until 11 a.m., and then revert as usual to northbound travel at 1:30 p.m. The shutdowns will allow the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to perform routine clearing of drains on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, while the city of Seattle removes roadside debris, mainly from homeless camps.

The city reports that it removed 49 tons of waste, including biohazards, from multiple I-5 locations in the past two weeks. Last year, a 19-year-old man in a tent was killed by a driver who veered off a freeway exit near the University District.

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• Crowds traveling to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival are urged to travel early and allow extra time. Private shuttles and tours, or an Amtrak Cascades train, offer alternatives to driving.

Delays may be longer than usual this year, because northbound I-5 is reduced to two lanes near Starbird Road in south Skagit County for a bridge-construction project. State troopers, festival organizers and WSDOT will participate in a Facebook Live chat about tulip traffic at 2 p.m. Friday.

• On Highway 9 in Clearview, the junction at 164th Street Southeast will be a four-way stop from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday, while crews re-time the traffic signals. After the changeover, left-turning drivers in all directions will need to turn during gaps in the oncoming traffic, rather than use a green arrow. The goal is to provide more congestion relief for northbound traffic in the afternoons, by giving them up to 30 seconds longer per green light, said WSDOT spokeswoman Kris Olsen.

• Washington State Ferries will change to its spring schedule on Sunday.

In central Seattle, the Sounders FC match against Atlanta, at 7 p.m. Friday, will attract 40,000 fans onto transit trains, sidewalks and Sodo streets.