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520 bridge closures start tonight, so plan accordingly

Work on the highway includes removal of some “ramps to nowhere’

Joe Wolf/Flickr

Late-night, or very early morning, drivers to the Eastside may want to get really familiar with alternate routes. Starting tonight, eastbound State Route 520 lanes will be closed.

They’ll open back up Friday morning at 5 a.m., then close again from 11:59 Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday.

Closures will continue nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday night through March 30, building up to full closures in both directions Friday, March 31 through Monday, April 3.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews will be removing sections of an old offramp next to the highway, as well as parts of the “Ramps to Nowhere” closest to the eastbound lanes.

For those unfamiliar, the ramps were initially built as part of the R.H. Thomson Expressway in the 1960s and 1970s—and when the project was scrapped, a collection of concrete, urban ruins remained, rising out of the water in the Arboretum. They’ve become a popular spot for kayaking and sometimes jumping.

WSDOT has been working on removing the ramps since October 2014, but it’s a lengthy process.

Preservationists, activists, parks advocates, and the City Council alike support preserving a small section of the ramps. WSDOT is currently in talks with the City about transferring the property over, as the City Council requested in an ordinance last year.

That section isn’t slated for removal until the Montlake phase of the 520 project, which is scheduled to begin in 2018.

This article has been updated since its original publication.