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Published: Friday, July 30, 2021
Montlake Bridge    Print 

Montlake Bridge

By Joe Calabro

Back in March we gave you the heads-up about some serious work coming to Seattle's Montlake Bridge. As July draws to a close, that work is ready to get going with an almost-month-long closure.

Phase 1: 26-day closure to motor vehicles in August

From Aug. 9 to the morning of Sept. 3, the Montlake Bridge will be closed around-the-clock to motor vehicle traffic. If you typically walk or bicycle over the bridge, fret not! The sidewalks over the Montlake Cut will remain open as crews work.

Why don’t we keep a lane or two open for cars and buses? Safety. During this phase of work, crews will add extra support beams and remove and replace metal grid deck panels. This means at any time there could be a gaping hole in the bridge’s surface. Add crews and equipment into the equation, and it makes the most sense, safety-wise, to keep the bridge closed.

Since this is a movable bridge, maintaining boat traffic through the Montlake Cut is essential. Boaters that require the bridge to be raised can request ‘single-leaf’ openings. This means one side of the bridge will open upon request. Full bridge openings require 24-hour notice to the bridge operator.

Plan ahead and change how you move


This is a big deal! The Montlake Bridge is an important and well-used connection between Montlake, the University District and beyond. The bridge carries around 60,000 vehicles per day. With it closed, those travelers will need to go a different way. We expect to see some backups on city streets around Montlake Boulevard, but the length of those delays depends on how well folks can adjust:

  • Walk or bike across the bridge! Take advantage of the open sidewalks and sunny weather, even if it’s just once or twice per week. Who knows, you might just have a new routine on your hands.
  • Let King County Metro be your chauffeur. Our transit friends will have reroutes ready to go for this closure. Ride with them and read, catch up on the news, get some work done, listen to Olivia Rodrigo – whatever.
  • Get a lift with Link light rail. Catch the Link from the University of Washington Station to Capitol Hill and beyond, or vice versa.
  • Carpool. Find a friend, coworker or family member to make riding the detour easier. Just remember to check traffic before you go and plan for delays.

Two birds, one closure

With the Montlake Bridge closed through much of August, traffic on Montlake Boulevard will be reduced as travelers use other routes to head north and south. The neighboring SR 520 Montlake Project will take advantage, doing cleanup work around the former Montlake Market and gas station. Expect Montlake Boulevard at SR 520 to be reduced to a single lane in each direction during most of August. By bundling all this work into a single timeframe, we’re reducing the number of disruptions to the community.

Weekend closures this fall

Once the deck is replaced in early September, crews will begin rehabilitating the bridge's mechanical systems. This work will take up to five weekends this fall. During those weekends, the sidewalks and road will be closed across the Montlake Cut. Boat access will not be affected. Be sure to check our webpage for any updates to this schedule.


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