This drone shot shows where the new eastbound State route 520 on-ramp from East Lake Washington Boulevard is being built. It will open at 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20.
This drone shot shows where the new eastbound State route 520 on-ramp from East Lake Washington Boulevard is being built. It will open at 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20.

WSDOT plans to permanently close the eastbound State Route 520 on-ramp from the Washington Park Arboretum and open a new, temporary on-ramp at 5 a.m. on Friday.

Drivers will continue west along Lake Washington Boulevard East to East Lake Washington Boulevard to access the temporary eastbound on-ramp, which will stay open through 2021. The existing eastbound on-ramp from Montlake Boulevard East will remain open.

Montlake Project design-build contractor Graham Contracting will continue removing sections of the old eastbound SR 520 bridge across Union Bay, with plans to add pilings for temporary work bridges. A crane will also soon be assembled near Foster Island, “as crews set up a second pile-driving location on the eastern portion of the bridge,” according to a WSDOT news release.

Graham shifted the westbound off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard farther north, opposite a reconfigured connection to East Lake Washington Boulevard, this fall. Eastbound SR 520 mainline and Montlake Boulevard on-ramp traffic was shifted to the West Approach Bridge North in early November.

WSDOT will activate a new traffic signal at East Lake Washington Boulevard and 24th Avenue East on Friday morning, in conjunction with the new on-ramp opening.

Roughly 3,500 to 5,000 drivers use the existing on-ramp daily.

Soon after the temporary on-ramp opens, crews will begin work to replace a 54-inch waterline running north and south across SR 520, which will likely require 160 days of intermittent closures on East North Street at Montlake Boulevard. There will also be occasional nighttime lane reductions on Montlake Boulevard.

Montlake Market

The Montlake Market and 76 station will close at the end of December.

WSDOT purchased the Montlake Market and 76 station property from Kemper Freeman for $16 million in June. The site will be used during the future reconfiguration of Montlake Boulevard as part of the Montlake Project portion of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV program.

The Montlake Market was removed and later added back into plans for a reconfiguration of Montlake Boulevard, which caused an outcry from the neighborhood and legal challenges. The Legislature passed a proviso in 2018 directing WSDOT to preserve the market if possible.

WSDOT recently closed a survey asking people what temporary amenity could be provided on a portion of the market site. WSDOT spokesperson Steve Peer tells MPT a request for proposals will be issued sometime in January.

The site still needs to be remediated due to a number of petroleum-based contaminants being confirmed in the soil.

“We didn’t know what we were going to find,” Peer said of soil testing this fall, “but we did find contaminants throughout that property.”

Sound off

WSDOT is conducting a survey through early January, asking people how well the department has done communicating the project to the public. Click here to take the online survey.

The transportation department is also assessing changes to hours of operation for a public information office located at 2209 E. Lake Washington Boulevard, where people can ask questions about the project. This is to ensure the office is open at times that are convenient to the public, Peer said.