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Major road closures on SR 520, I-90 could snarl Seattle traffic

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(The Center Square) – Seattle drivers will have to deal with major closures starting Friday night due to roadwork on State Route 520 and Interstate 90.

“They’ll be seeing red if they try to go through that area, let’s put it that way,” said Steve Peer, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson. “The worst thing you can do is drive all the way up to the closure, then you turn around.”

Officials will close Montlake Boulevard starting Friday through July 24, according to WSDOT. The department will also close parts of SR 520 across Lake Washington from Friday through Monday and from July 21 through July 24. Eastbound lanes on I-90 across Lake Washington will be closed from midnight to 7 a.m. this Friday and Saturday. During the I-90 closure, an eastbound toll lane on SR 520 will remain open.

These closures will affect more than 600,000 vehicles total – or 61,000 vehicles per day – commuting north and south through the Montlake neighborhood, according to Peer. He recommended drivers use Interstate 5 as a detour when appropriate.

“Know much earlier than that that Montlake is closed,” he said. “There’ll be some additional time traveled but they won’t be seeing red.”

Peer said the Montlake closure should ultimately make transportation easier through the neighborhood, with new onramps to eastbound and westbound SR 520.

“There is some good news when the dust settles,” he said. “Montlake Boulevard will have straightened to its final configuration.”

These closures are part of the $455 million Montlake Project, according to Peer. This project aims to provide a new SR 520 eastbound bridge over Union Bay, a bike and pedestrian bridge above SR 520 and a three-acre “lid” above the highway in Montlake featuring green space and transit stops. Work began in 2019, and WSDOT projects it will be completed in 2024.

Peer said he is grateful for the public’s patience.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “We’re really building something that’s going to help with people’s commute.”

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