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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Outlines Steps to Keep Traffic Moving During I-5 Work

8/1/2007  10:25:00 AM

Mayor Outlines Steps to Keep Traffic Moving During I-5 Work

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today outlined a series of steps the city is taking to keep people, goods and services moving through Seattle as repair work on a critical section of Interstate 5 gets under way next week.

Around-the-clock work on the freeway bridge deck between Spokane Street and Interstate 90 from Aug. 10 to 29 could cause one of the biggest traffic disruptions in recent times, especially from morning rush hours into the evening.

“From adjusting signal timing to stationing police officers at critical areas, we are taking steps to help people get where they are going and keep businesses on track,” Nickels said. “But we need everyone’s help during this difficult period. One of the best ways to do that is to leave your car at home and use transportation alternatives, such as the bus, the train, the water taxi, a bike or a car pool. Every bit counts.”

Expecting thousands of vehicles to move to city streets, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is implementing several temporary traffic changes to help move motorists. Adjustments include:

  • Ninety traffic signals are being adjusted to increase north-south green times on alternate routes - Airport Way, First Avenue South, Fourth Avenue South, Rainier Avenue and Beacon Avenue.
  • Trucks will be stationed in key areas to quickly assist stalled vehicles.
  • One northbound lane of Airport Way will be limited to buses, van pools and trucks only.
  • A left-hand turn signal is being added to make it easier to turn from eastbound South Spokane Street onto Fourth Avenue South.
  • SDOT is increasing staffing of its Traffic Management Control Center, which can monitor intersections across the city and adjust traffic signals remotely.
  • Seattle traffic-control officers will be stationed to help manage congestion. Initially the focus will be on South Spokane Street and First Avenue South to ensure both West Seattle and South Spokane Street traffic keeps moving. Additional officers will be available for the Georgetown, Beacon Hill and SODO neighborhoods if issues arise.

Metro is preparing for a larger number of riders on many of its routes through the area. Sound Transit is adding extra sounder service and opening temporary park and ride lots at the Tacoma Dome and the Red Apple Market near its Sumner station, among other locations.

After 40 years of use, the I-5 bridge deck is worn and rutted, steel rebar is exposed and expansion joints are under stress from heavy traffic. To maximize motorists’ safety and extend the life of the bridge, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is replacing 34 joints and repaving this stretch of northbound freeway from Aug. 10 to Aug. 29. During this time only two to three lanes will be open to traffic.

Seattle’s, Metro’s and Sound Transit’s efforts, combined with WSDOT’s, will help commuters get through this difficult time. For more information on the project visit:

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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Office of the Mayor

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