SEATTLE — Construction crews will try again this weekend to begin expansion-joint replacements on southbound Interstate 5 through Sodo, after being rained out a week ago.
Five lanes of traffic will be funneled into a single lane between south downtown and the Columbian Way exit, approaching the work zone. Reductions go from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday — weather permitting.
However, the National Weather Service says showers are likely Saturday. So the decision to work won’t be final until Friday, said Tom Pearce, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
This would be the first of 16 closures, causing traffic snarls most weekends until autumn.
The C.A. Carey company of Issaquah is in the second year of a $27.5 million contract to rehabilitate this stretch of freeway, which opened in 1965. Repaving occurred last year, and this year clanging steel expansion joints will be replaced by smoother epoxy-cladded joints with silicone filler. Expansion joints are gaps between road decks that allow thermal expansion.
This weekend, the express lanes will remain open southbound during their regular weekend hours, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, before switching to northbound at 1:45 p.m. both days.
Southbound drivers will begin their merge 3,000 feet south of the express lanes, said Pearce. They’ll shift to the right so crews can replace the left halves of four joints along Beacon Hill.
Freeway clogs will complicate trips to or from a Seattle Storm basketball game at noon Saturday in Climate Pledge Arena and a Sounders FC match at 1 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to the Sodo closures, Sound Transit announced it will shut southbound I-5 through Mountlake Terrace from 11 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, 11 p.m. Saturday to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday. Crews will remove tons of temporary wood and steel framing, known as falsework, that they used to shape a new concrete train overpass next to Mountlake Terrace Station.
Transportation officials suggest taking Sound Transit light rail, buses, bicycling, carpools or driving before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Transit is free this weekend because the ORCA fare card network is being reprogrammed.
Drivers going through Seattle could detour to Aurora Avenue north of Mercer Street and enter the southbound Highway 99 tunnel, where weekend tolls are only $1.15 for Good to Go pass holders and $3.15 for others.
All I-5 lanes will remain open for Memorial Day weekend, University of Washington graduation ceremonies June 11-12 and the Juneteenth, Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends.