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Northbound I-5 'facelift' means freeway closures this spring, summer

Major work to rehab I-5 began last year on the southbound highway between Tukwila and Kent. (WSDOT photo)

SEATTLE - A much-needed and long-postponed facelift of Interstate 5 through Seattle this spring and summer will require periodic lane closures and even a full closure of northbound lanes over two weekends.

The state Department of Transportation said in a blog posting that patchwork fixes have been done over the years, but emergency maintenance "can't be ignored any longer."

The $32.6 million facelift project is expected to restore the pavement in the northbound lanes to a like-new condition from Martin Luther King Jr. Way (State Route 900) to Northeast Ravenna. That 13-mile stretch of freeway will get new concrete and asphalt pavement, as well as 37 new expansion joints.

But the tremendous undertaking will will require at least six weekends of lane reductions on northbound I-5 near Spokane Street. Two of the six weekends will require full closures of northbound I-5.

Here are the details:

- April 13-16: Northbound I-5 ramp to West Seattle Bridge/Columbian Way closure

- April 20-23: Weekend lane reductions

- April 27-30: Weekend lane reductions

- May 11-14: Weekend lane reductions

- May 18-21: Full northbound closure

- June 1-4: Full northbound closure

- July 13-16: Weekend lane reductions

Much of the work can only be done during dry weather so the schedule can change, transportation officials said. If that happens, email alerts will be sent out to inform motorists.

To avoid miles of backups and hours-long delays during the work - especially the two full weekend closures - the state DOT recommends that drivers adjust their plans.

Some suggested work-arounds include using public transportation, using light rail, carpooling, using a different route or traveling before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

This year's I-5 facelift work on the northbound lanes builds on a similar project last year to restore the southbound lanes. The years-long project is intended to ensure safe and reliable trips along 38 miles of the state's busiest highway for decades to come.

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