Big shifts for SR 520 project on the way

WSDOT to move eastbound lanes by end of October for Montlake Phase of bridge replacement project

Big shifts for SR 520 project on the way

Big shifts for SR 520 project on the way

WSDOT plans to begin work to shift traffic from the eastbound State Route 520 mainline and Montlake Boulevard on-ramp in mid-October and have drivers moved over to the West Approach Bridge North by the end of the month.

This is one of many phases of the Montlake Project portion of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV program.

WSDOT spokesperson Steve Peer said design-build contractor Graham Contracting recently finished Phase Zero, which shifted the westbound off-ramp to Montlake Boulevard farther north, opposite a reconfigured connection to East Lake Washington Boulevard.

“Right now they’re there for a while, while we build this ramp,” Peer said.

Graham will eventually be able to clear room on SR 520 for a work zone to erect a new Montlake Lid, which involves constructing a Pier 2 structure between 24th Avenue and Montlake Boulevard.

Work will start to shift eastbound traffic to the north portion of SR 520, which WSDOT completed in December 2017, with a weekend closure Oct. 12-13. Peer said the plan is to have traffic moved over by the end of October, at which point there will be two lanes each for westbound and eastbound drivers. Graham also needs to construct a new westbound SR 520 alignment between 24th Avenue East and Montlake Boulevard.

WSDOT had previously planned to remove the eastbound on-ramp in the Washington Park Arboretum and divert drivers to the on-ramp at Montlake Boulevard. Graham proposed creating a new, temporary on-ramp on Lake Washington Boulevard East that connects to the West Approach Bridge North. Construction crews will use the existing on-ramp to access the south portion of SR 520, which is to be replaced. The temporary on-ramp is slated to open in November, around the same time as a new temporary bike/pedestrian trail that will run parallel to the on-ramp, but under SR 520.

Peer said 24th Avenue East had to be closed to cyclists, who used it to travel north and south, avoiding Montlake Boulevard.

Peer said the Montlake Lid structure will be completed before Montlake Boulevard is reconfigured.

WSDOT purchased the Montlake Market and 76 station property from Kemper Freeman for $16 million. The market will eventually be razed to make room for the reconfiguration. Crews were out at the gas station on Sept. 24 doing more boring for soil tests in an ongoing effort to understand the extent of remediation required due to petroleum-based contaminants on the property and in the ground water.

Across the street from Montlake Market, down East North Street, WSDOT has opened a public information office, where Graham representatives are available to answer questions noon to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is also open 9 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of each month at 2209 E. Lake Washington Boulevard.

WSDOT needed the property for a portion of the SR 520 project that involves relocating a 54-inch pipe running north and south under the highway, and Peer said Graham wanted to use the site for an information office. He said the $1.9 million WSDOT paid for the property included relocation costs for the previous owner. The home on the property is historic, so the information office is located in the adjacent garage. WSDOT will sell the property once the project is completed, Peer said.

WSDOT plans to begin constructing a reversible HOV-only connection from State Route 520 to Mercer Street via Interstate 5 express lanes that should open around the same time the Montlake Project is completed.

“Originally, we had coupled this with the next phase of construction, called the Portage Bay phase, but we found a way to decouple this and get this reversible HOV connector built quicker,” Peer told MPT back in July. “The connector is so close to where the new lid is going to be, it’s all in that same area, so it’s easier to do it piecemeal.”

More information about the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV program is available here. WSDOT recently added fixed-mount cameras around the construction site, but don’t look to them to inform travel times.