Full closure of I-405 for Father’s Day weekend in Bellevue

Full closure of I-405 for Father’s Day weekend in Bellevue

There will be signs with detour routes; the closure will take place from June 17 to 20 to demolish the main street bridge.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is conducting a major reconstruction of I-405 from Bellevue to Renton, and major closures are expected this Father’s Day weekend.

Construction began in fall 2020 to widen I-405 by adding one lane in each direction and to create a dual express toll system, similar to what currently exists when traveling from Bellevue to Bothell, according to WSDOT.

“Right now, that area basically from I-90 to Renton (SR) 167 is one of the worst routes in the region,” said Craig Smiley, WSDOT director of construction.

According to Smiley, about 190,000 vehicles travel this route on Saturdays, while about 160,000 vehicles travel this route on Sundays.

With the addition of new lanes, as well as 50 miles of a managed lane system, individuals can expect considerable improvements in traffic flow. The managed lane system will allow drivers to pay for consistent, reliable rides while supporting rapid transit and carpooling, Smiley said.

As part of the reconstruction process, the Main Street Bridge in Bellevue closed on Monday, June 13 and will be closed continuously for a period of 150 days.

“The new bridge will have the same configuration as the existing bridge,” said Sharif Shaklawun, WSDOT project engineer, who mentioned how there will be two lanes in each direction on the new bridge.

Additional improvements to the Main Street Bridge include widening the sidewalk and bike lane. Smiley described the current bike and pedestrian lanes as “functionally nonexistent,” with the current south side sidewalk 4 feet wide, while the north side offers about 2 feet of cushioning.

While the bridge is under construction, the north sidewalk will see an 8-foot width increase, while the south side will have a 12-foot-wide path, they said. WSDOT expects the lane extension to be an improved user experience for people who walk and drive.

“We understand that construction is very impactful,” Smiley said. “We’re really asking if people can take public transit or carpool and travel during rush hour.”

Alternative routes

WSDOT encourages people to use alternate routes.

At 10:00 p.m. on June 17, the highway will be completely closed in order to safely demolish the existing bridge. I-405 between Northeast 4th Street and Southeast 8th Street will remain closed until 5 a.m. June 20.

There will be signs with detour routes for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and congestion should be expected on the detour routes. During the five-month closure of the Main Street Bridge, commuters can use alternate routes on Northeast 4th Street, Southeast 8th Street and Northeast 8th Street, which will relieve traffic congestion on 4th Street Northeast.

A map of the detours travelers may take during the demolition of the Main Street Bridge. Courtesy of WSDOT.

WSDOT suggests that those traveling southbound on I-405 use the 4th Street Northeast exit and travel south on 112th Avenue Northeast, where they can reenter the road at 8th Street South- East. For those traveling northbound, WSDOT suggests using the 8th Street Southeast exit and traveling north on 116th Avenue to reenter the freeway at 4th Street Northeast.

The entirety of the I-405 reconstruction is expected to take until 2024. WSDOT has seen challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic and material supply issues, and most recently a concrete strike, which could affect the project in the long run, Smiley said. .

“Right now in the morning I probably spend 30-40 minutes sitting in traffic,” Smiley said. “I’m looking forward to having a significantly improved commute when the project opens.”

For additional information on the I-405 project, click here.

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Jennifer Ahdout

Jennifer Ahdout

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