SR 520 Montlake lid project one step closer to finish line after this weekend

21 July 2023

Only four more days until Montlake can have its neighborhood back. Residents just have to survive another weekend closure of State Route 520.

While there are still several months of work left on the Montlake Lid portion of the SR 520 expansion project, the Montlake neighborhood will get back to somewhat normal after this weekend.

That’s because the drainage and utility work on the west end of the new lid should be done after this latest 10-day closure, meaning Montlake Boulevard will go back to its normal configuration in time for Monday morning.

“It’ll be back to its original configuration across SR 520, which will be better for drivers, and there’ll be a new eastbound on-ramp and a new westbound on-ramp realignment,” the Washington Department of Transportation’s Steve Peer said.

That will be a change for drivers on Monday, but it should be a welcome one.

And most of the groundwork for the lid is done.

“We put 513 girders into this project,” Peer said. “That’s a massive three-acre lid that is complete in terms of the footprint. And then we also have a bicycle and pedestrian bridge that’s east of there. Its girders are in, and we’re still waiting to pour some of the concrete.”

Work on that new bicycle-pedestrian bridge should finish this fall or early winter, and that’s when it will open.

The lid, which will be 60% greenspace, will finally reconnect the neighborhood that was cut in half when SR 520 was put in.

“There’s a direct access ramp on each side of the lid that goes to and from 520,” Peer said. “That’ll be great for buses and three-plus carpools to be able to get right onto the lid. There’s a transit hub on top of the lid.”

The new eastbound connection from Montlake to the floating bridge should open in August, but not without a few more weekend closures of the entire corridor.

“It’s necessary because there’s just a lot of work to happen,” Peer said. “Probably in August, we’ve got three more weekend closures. There’s a lot happening condensed into a small amount of time, and we’re working with all the other projects to make sure that they have their time to open.”

Opening that eastbound connection will be a game-changer for commuters. It will finally get eastbound drivers out of the westbound lanes and onto their own road, and that will create three lanes in each direction between the Eastside and Montlake.

Also changing for drivers on Monday, eastbound drivers will be on that new bridge coming from Montlake.

The entire project is set to finish in the first quarter of 2024, and that includes the new flyover ramp connecting 520 and the express lanes.

And then, it’s time to enter the final phase of this mega-project, expanding SR 520 from Montlake across Portage Bay to I-5.

That should take another eight-plus years.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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