The completion of two major projects should noticeably help drivers on SR 520 between Redmond and Seattle.
Two new lanes on eastbound SR 520 will open five months early, on Wednesday morning, Nov. 17. A break in the weather will allow crews to stripe the new lanes, doubling the capacity on a chronic evening chokepoint. Currently, it can take up to 20 minutes to travel the mile and a half between 51st Street and Avondale in Redmond. Traffic engineers say the new lanes should make for a significantly quicker evening commute in the stretch next to Marymoor. Drivers headed home Wednesday night will be the first test case.
The new lanes mark the end of an 18-month long, $81 million corridor-wide project to widen the highway, reduce congestion and increase safety in both directions of SR 520 between West Lake Sammamish Parkway and SR 202 in Redmond.
Wednesday morning also marks the first 24 hours of operation for new Smarter Highway signs on SR 520. WSDOT turned on the signs Tuesday morning in 19 locations to give drivers instant traffic information to help them better navigate one of the state’s toughest daily commutes.