Heads up, southbound Interstate 405 travelers near downtown Renton: Your driving experience will be a little different starting next week, especially if you rely on the ramp to southbound State Route 167.
As early as Saturday, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will make a long-term change to the way drivers access the off-ramps from southbound I-405 to Rainier Avenue South (Exit 2B) and southbound SR 167 (Exit 2A).
Right now, these two streams of traffic are separated by a barrier and travel in two parallel ramps. The far right lane takes travelers to Rainier Avenue South, and the second lane from the right takes travelers to southbound SR 167.
Heading to southbound SR 167? Keep right
Under WSDOT’s new configuration, it will combine those two exit lanes into a single lane. That means if you’re traveling from southbound I-405 to southbound SR 167, you’ll need to make sure you follow the new signs and get in the far right lane.
But rest assured, you’ll still be able to get to both exits, as the lane will allow exits to both destinations. The barrier separating the two exit lanes will include an opening for those who wish to take Exit 2A.
Will this change affect traffic?
After WSDOT built an off-ramp to Talbot Road South several years ago, the volume of traffic using the Rainier Avenue South ramp dropped to around 200 to 300 vehicles per hour. WSDOT doesn’t expect major backups as a result of this change, but there may be some minor slowdowns in the area as drivers adjust to the new configuration.
Why is this change happening?
Combining these two ramps while still allowing access to both exits will help crews move forward with the I-405/SR 167 Interchange Direct Connector project, which started construction last fall. WSDOT is in the process of building a new flyover ramp connecting the I-405 carpool lanes to the SR 167 high-occupancy toll lanes. Once open, the new flyover ramp will provide HOV drivers and transit a new option for traveling between I-405 and SR 167 while taking some pressure off the general-purpose ramps. WSDOT expects to open the flyover ramp to traffic in 2019.
You have probably already noticed that traffic has shifted lanes on northbound I-405 in the same area. This second traffic shift is to create a work zone to prepare for building the new flyover ramp in the center of I-405.
Upcoming ramp closures
• Friday, May 19, to the morning of Sunday, May 21 – The southbound I-405 off-ramp to Rainier Avenue South will be closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
• Friday, May 19, to the morning of Sunday, May 21 – The southbound I-405 off-ramp to southbound SR 167 will be closed nightly from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
A signed detour will be in place. This work is weather dependent and subject to change.
How long will this traffic shift be in place?
This change will be in place for at least several months as crews continue construction work for the Direct Connector.