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Take These Bellevue Streets to Avoid I-405 Closure Traffic

Is Bellevue Way or 148th Avenue less congested? Avoid heavy traffic this weekend from the closure of northbound Interstate 405 through Bellevue with these suggestions from local traffic data firm INRIX.

Cracks on northbound Interstate 405 before repair work began. Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation.
Cracks on northbound Interstate 405 before repair work began. Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation.
Stuck in Bellevue traffic while northbound Interstate 405 is closed for road repairs this weekend? Do you wonder whether to take Bellevue Way or 148th Avenue?

Take the road less traveled to avoid congestion through Bellevue, suggests Kirkland traffic data firm INRIX, which analyzed the last weekend closure that same stretch of freeway.

An INRIX traffic analyst suggests avoiding the worst congestion by traveling before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., or taking parallel roads that run north through Bellevue.

The firm reported that it found that 148th Avenue was more congested than Bellevue Way during the last northbound I-405 closure in July.
 
“We reviewed data from the last closure and found that most people flocked to the 148th Avenue detour route,” said Jamie Holter, INRIX Traffic Analyst. “Bellevue Way, Richards Road, 124th Avenue NE and 116th Avenue NE were underused.”

The firm and the Washington State Department of Transportation suggest checking local traffic conditions before heading out. Websites with that information include the City of Bellevue's traffic cameras and the state's Puget Sound Traffic Camera map.

Here are more of INRIX's findings:
  • Congestion on northbound I-405 between I-90 and SE Eighth St. picked up at 8 a.m., peaked at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and didn’t let up until 7 p.m. Between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. the backup stretched from SE Eighth St. to I-90.
  • Congestion on 148th Ave. NE picked up at 10 a.m., peaked at 1 p.m. with about 30 percent more congestion and tapered off around 4 p.m. The road was back to typical Saturday traffic by 6 p.m. 
  • Congestion on Bellevue Way picked up at 11 a.m., peaked at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and was back to normal by 6 p.m. The change from a typical day was very small indicating that it was not used by many drivers.
  • Congestion on 124th Ave. NE showed no change.
  • Saturday congestion was significantly worse than Sunday congestion.
 
“During the last closure, WSDOT closed SR 520 as well, so that certainly added to the traffic dynamic. But the data shows drivers can save time by checking all the alternate routes in advance,” said Holter.

This weekend crews are continuing the replacement project on the 50-year-old concrete panels on I-405 in the two left lanes between SE Eighth and Main streets, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

This will be the last full closure of the northbound lanes, according to a WSDOT spokeswoman.

Other local roads will be closed for construction:

North of the Bellevue closure, northbound I-405 will be reduced to one lane between State Route 520 and Northeast 70th Street in Kirkland from 2 to 7 a.m. on Saturday and from 1 to 5 a.m. on Sunday, according to the WSDOT.

In Renton, crews will replace a 30-year-old drainage pipe located under the State Route 167 roadway, which will mean that the interchange between SR-167 and I-405 also will be closed all weekend.

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