Drivers should be prepared for eight weekends of lane closures, which likely will cause backups and delays on northbound Interstate 5 in SeaTac and Tukwila, starting in June, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced.
Contractor crews working for WSDOT will replace expansion joints and repave about 4 miles of the freeway in SeaTac and Tukwila during the weekend-long lane reductions. The work is part of a larger I-5 rehabilitation  project from Kent to the Duwamish River.
The weekend-long work will reduce northbound I-5 to two lanes from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday:
- SR 516 to South 170th Street: June 2-5, 16-19, 23-26, and June 30-July 3; July 7-10, 14-17
- Duwamish River Bridge: Dates in late summer/fall to be announced
- All dates are weather-dependent
“We know it’s hard to have just two lanes open on this section of I-5 for an entire weekend,” WSDOT Project Engineer Mike Askarian said. “We’re doing most of the work on this project at night, but replacing expansion joints and the tasks involved to pave asphalt over a 4-mile concrete section requires several periods of more than 50 straight hours. We can only get on weekends.”
In addition to the eight weekends this summer, crews will need two weekends of lane reductions in 2018 to replace expansion joints on northbound I-5 Interurban Avenue bridge. Those weekends have not been scheduled.
What drivers should expect
During similar work on southbound I-5  in the SeaTac area last year, drivers experienced delays of up to 20 to 40 minutes. Delays varied based on the number of drivers using alternative routes, delaying trips and carpooling or using transit.
Several lane and ramp closures are planned:
- For paving work between SR 516 and South 170th Street, lane closures will begin south of SR 516.
- During paving work, the Military Road on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed each of the six weekends.
- The northbound I-5 off-ramps to Military Road and South 188th Street as well as northbound I-5 on-ramps from South 188th Street and Southcenter Boulevard will be closed two weekends. Those weekends will be announced.
- Crews will begin closing lanes at 8 p.m. Fridays. By 10 p.m., northbound I-5 will be reduced to two lanes.
- Between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Friday and Sunday nights, northbound I-5 may be reduced to one lane in the work zone.
- All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Mondays.
What drivers can do
More than 100,000 vehicles use northbound I-5 each day in the SeaTac/Tukwila area. During the lane reductions, drivers can help reduce congestion by:
- Using bus or light rail service
- Scheduling trips early or late in the day
- Using alternative routes like State Route 167 and I-405, SR 99 or SR 509.
This is the first of two major I-5 rehabilitation projects that are starting this year. Work between Kent and the Duwamish River in Tukwila will wrap up in 2018. The second project , between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and East Ravenna Boulevard in Seattle, will be complete in 2019.