Interstate 5 in Washington

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Interstate 5 marker

Interstate 5
A map of Western Washington with I-5 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by RCW 47.17.020
Maintained by WSDOT
Length 276.62 mi[4][5] (445.18 km)
Existed August 14, 1957[1][2] – present
History Completed in 1969[3]
Tourist
routes
Lewis and Clark Trail Scenic Byway
Major junctions
South end I-5 at Oregon state line in Vancouver
 
North end Hwy 99 at Canadian border in Blaine
Location
Counties Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Thurston, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom
Highway system
SR 4 SR 6

Interstate 5 (I-5) is an Interstate Highway on the West Coast of the United States, serving as the region's primary north–south route. It travels 277 miles (446 km) across the state of Washington, running from the Oregon state border at Vancouver, through the Puget Sound region, and to the Canadian border at Blaine. Within the Seattle metropolitan area, the freeway connects the cities of Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett.

I-5 is the only interstate to traverse the whole state from north to south and is Washington's busiest highway, with an average of 274,000 vehicles traveling on it through Downtown Seattle on a typical day. The segment in Downtown Seattle is also among the widest freeways in the United States, at 13 lanes, and includes a set of express lanes that reverse direction depending on time of the day. I-5 also has three related auxiliary Interstates in the state, I-205, I-405, and I-705, as well as several designated business routes and state routes.

The freeway follows several historic railroads and wagon trails developed during American settlement of western Washington in the mid-to-late 19th century. The state legislature incorporated local roads into the Pacific Highway in 1913, connecting the state's southern and northern borders between Vancouver and Blaine. The Pacific Highway was built and paved over the next decade, and became the northernmost segment of the national U.S. Route 99 (US 99) in 1926. The federal government endorsed the creation of a national expressway system in the 1940s, including several bypasses on US 99 that would be built over the next few years and incorporated into a state-run toll superhighway in the Seattle area. The toll proposal was shelved in favor of a federally-funded freeway under the new Interstate Highway System, from which I-5 was created in 1957. Construction of I-5 was completed in 1969, and several segments of the highway have been widened or improved in the decades since.

Route description

Interstate 5 is the only Interstate to traverse Washington from north to south, serving as the primary highway for the western portion of the state.[6] It is listed as part of the National Highway System, classifying important to the national economy, defense, and mobility, and the state's Highway of Statewide Significance program, recognizing its connection to major communities.[7][8] I-5 runs through the most densely populated region of Washington state, with 4.6 million people living in the nine counties on the corridor, approximately 70 percent of the state's population.[9] Several of the largest cities along the I-5 corridor are also connected by Cascades, a regional train service between Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia, operated by Amtrak and funded by the state governments of Oregon and Washington.[10][11]

I-5 is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), who conduct an annual survey of traffic volume that is expressed in terms of average annual daily traffic (AADT), a measure of traffic volume for any average day of the year. The stretch of I-5 through Downtown Seattle is the busiest highway in Washington state, with a daily average of over 274,000 vehicles in the mainline and express lanes.[12] The least-traveled segment of I-5 is located at SR 548 in Blaine, with a daily average of 6,600 vehicles.[13] Traffic congestion I-5 through the Seattle metropolitan area is among the worst in the United States, with 78 percent of peak direction miles classified as "routinely congested" for 7–8 hours a day and an average annual delay of 55 hours for the SeattleEverett corridor.[14][15][16]

Southwestern Washington

An Amtrak Cascades train running in the median of I-5 near Kalama. The route of the Cascades parallels I-5 from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I-5 enters Washington on the Interstate Bridge, a pair of vertical-lift bridges that span the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The bridge is the only point on I-5 where vehicles have to stop for cross traffic, due to the lifts.[17] On the north bank of the river, the freeway passes under a railroad viaduct carrying Amtrak's Empire Builder and intersects SR 14. The interchange with SR 14, located west of Pearson Field and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, also includes ramps serving downtown Vancouver.[18][19] I-5 continues north through suburban Vancouver and into Hazel Dell, passing the Clark College campus and intersecting SR 501 at Fourth Plain Boulevard and SR 500 at Burnt Bridge Creek. I-5 intersects I-205, the eastern freeway bypass of the Portland metropolitan area, in Salmon Creek near the Vancouver campus of Washington State University.[20]

From Salmon Creek, I-5 continues northwesterly and intersects SR 502 at the Gee Creek rest area west of Battle Ground.[21] Its next interchange, in eastern Ridgefield, forms the eastern terminus of SR 501. The freeway passes the Ilani Casino Resort on the Cowlitz reservation and crosses the Lewis River into Woodland, where it intersects SR 503. Northwest of Woodland, the median of I-5 is used by freight trains and Amtrak's Cascades and Coast Starlight passenger trains, which follow the freeway for its entire length.[22][23] I-5 continues along the east bank of the Columbia River, passing through Kalama on the way towards Longview and Kelso. At the south end of Kelso, near the confluence of the Columbia and Cowlitz rivers, the freeway intersects SR 432, which connects to Longview and the Lewis and Clark Bridge via SR 433. I-5 continues north along the Coweeman River to the Three Rivers Mall, located east of downtown Kelso, where SR 4 terminates.[20] Between Vancouver and Kelso, the highway is part of the Lewis and Clark Trail, a state scenic highway that continues west along SR 4 towards the Pacific Ocean.[24][25]

The freeway continues north, following the Cowlitz River to Castle Rock, where it meets SR 411 and SR 504, the main highway to Mount St. Helens. North of Castle Rock, I-5 leaves the Cowlitz River and enters Lewis County, intersecting SR 506 west of Toledo and SR 505 east of Winlock. Near Napavine, I-5 becomes concurrent with US 12, which continues east across White Pass to Yakima.[25] The two highways intersect SR 508 and follow the Newaukum River northwest to Chehalis and Centralia. I-5 and US 12 skirt the western edge of both cities, briefly following the course of the Chehalis River, and intersect SR 6 in Chehalis and SR 507 in Centralia. US 12 leaves the concurrency at Grand Mound, heading west towards Aberdeen while I-5 continues north into Thurston County.[20][25]

South Sound region

A section of I-5 in Lacey, with Mount Rainier in the background

North of Grand Mound, I-5 passes Millersylvania State Park, which is connected via two interchanges with SR 121, which forms a loop between two of the exits. The freeway travels through the suburb of Tumwater, passing the Olympia Regional Airport and several state office parks before reaching the terminus of US 101, a major highway that encircles the Olympic Peninsula, on the south side of Capitol Lake.[25] After the interchange, I-5 enters Olympia and turns eastward after passing the Washington State Capitol campus and downtown Olympia. The freeway runs through Lacey and the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge towards DuPont on the east side of the Nisqually River in Pierce County.[20]

Immediately east of DuPont, I-5 travels through Joint Base Lewis–McChord, a major military installation that encompasses land on both sides of the freeway and its parallel railroad. Near American Lake, an interchange with Thorne Lane marks the proposed western terminus of SR 704, a new highway that would travel between the boundaries of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (the two components of Joint Base Lewis–McChord) to Spanaway.[26] Continuing past the bases, I-5 passes through Lakewood and intersects SR 512 before it reaches Tacoma.[20]

In Tacoma, the freeway passes the Tacoma Mall, turns east, and splits into collector–distributor lanes that run through central Tacoma and serve two interchanges: the terminus of SR 16, which continues northwest over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the Kitsap Peninsula; and I-705 and SR 7, which serve downtown Tacoma, the Tacoma Dome, Tacoma Dome Station, and the Pacific Avenue corridor.[27] East of the Tacoma Dome area, I-5 intersects SR 167 and crosses over the Puyallup River and a railroad carrying Sounder commuter trains. The freeway reaches Fife on the Puyallup Indian Reservation and intersects SR 99, a small section of former US 99, at 54th Avenue East. After crossing Hylebos Creek, I-5 turns north and ascends from the Puyallup River Valley, entering King County and the city of Federal Way while parallel to SR 99.[20]

After passing under SR 161 at Kitts Corner near the Wild Waves Theme Park, I-5 intersects SR 18, a freeway that connects to Auburn and Maple Valley. I-5 continues north past the former Weyerhauser headquarters campus to central Federal Way, where the freeway's high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV lanes) have a direct off-ramp to the Federal Way Transit Center and The Commons at Federal Way shopping mall. The freeway travels north into western Kent, intersecting SR 516 near Highline College. North of Angle Lake, I-5 tracks eastward between the cities of SeaTac and Tukwila, passing east of Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. At the Westfield Southcenter shopping mall in Tukwila, I-5 intersects SR 518, the primary means of access to the airport and Burien, and I-405, the eastern freeway bypass of Seattle that travels through Renton and the Eastside. The interchange includes several left-hand ramps, necessitating the separation of the thru HOV lanes from the mainline.[28] For a short distance, the light rail tracks of Central Link, which followed SR 518 from Tukwila International Boulevard station, join I-5 and run on its west side until the next interchange at SR 599, a short freeway that connects to SR 99.[29] From the SR 599 interchange, I-5 makes a gradual turn to the northwest while crossing over the Duwamish River and a mainline railroad, following the latter into the city of Seattle after an interchange with SR 900.[20][25]

Seattle and Shoreline

An aerial view of the interchange between I-5 and I-90 south of downtown Seattle

After entering Seattle, I-5 passes under the Central Link tracks at Boeing Access Road and runs northwesterly between Boeing Field and Georgetown to the west along the railroad and Beacon Hill to the east.[30] Mid-way along Beacon Hill near Jefferson Park, the freeway turns due north and intersects the east end of the Spokane Street Viaduct, part of the West Seattle Bridge, which has additional ramps to the SoDo area and the VA Puget Sound Medical Center.[20] I-5 continues north between SoDo and northern Beacon Hill, crossing over the western portal of the Beacon Hill light rail tunnel near Central Link's railyard and operating base.[31] At the north end of SoDo and Beacon Hill, I-5 intersects I-90, the state's major east–west freeway, forming a large interchange with ramps to Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, the city's two sports stadiums.[20][25]

North of the interchange, I-5 travels on an elevated viaduct over the International District and splits into collector–distributor lanes that serve exits to Downtown Seattle. The thirteen-lane freeway, among the widest in the United States,[32] runs in the full block between 6th and 7th avenues between downtown to the west and First Hill to the east, home to Harborview Medical Center and Yesler Terrace. It passes to the east of Seattle's tallest building, the Columbia Center,[33] and the city's Central Library before adding a set of reversible express lanes in the median near Madison Street.[20] I-5 turns northeasterly and passes under Freeway Park, a landscaped city park built over sections of the freeway near Seneca Street, and the Washington State Convention Center between Union and Pike streets.[34][35][36]

I-5 continues north out of downtown Seattle, passing 20 to 30 feet (6.1 to 9.1 m) under a retaining wall along Melrose Avenue at the edge of Capitol Hill.[37] To the west is the South Lake Union and Cascade neighborhoods, accessed via ramps to Stewart Street and Mercer Street. The freeway travels along the north end of Capitol Hill through the Eastlake neighborhood on the east side of Lake Union, passing over the I-5 Colonnade mountain bike park.[38] At Roanoke Park, I-5 intersects the western terminus of SR 520, a major freeway that crosses Lake Washington on the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, before continuing on to the Ship Canal Bridge towards the University District.[20] The bridge, which includes a lower deck for the express lanes, travels 160 feet (49 m) over a section of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Eastlake Avenue, itself carried across the canal by the University Bridge.[39][40]

I-5 runs north along 5th Avenue through the University District, a few blocks west of the University of Washington campus, and intersects Northeast 45th and 50th streets using a weaved pair of diamond interchanges.[41] In the RooseveltGreen Lake area, I-5 intersects Ravenna Boulevard and SR 522, a major highway that travels along the north side of Lake Washington.[25] Further north, the freeway reaches Northgate and the express lanes merge back with the mainline, forming a set of HOV lanes.[42] I-5 passes to the west of Northgate Mall and the Northgate light rail station along 1st Avenue before moving back east to 5th Avenue near Haller Lake.[43] At Jackson Park, freeway intersects SR 523, which forms the northern city limit of Seattle. I-5 then travels through Shoreline, passing the King County Metro north bus base and through several suburban subdivisions before reaching Snohomish County.[20]

Snohomish County

View of northbound I-5 in Lynnwood

At the county line near Lake Ballinger, I-5 also intersects SR 104, a highway that connects to Lake Forest Park, Edmonds, and the Kitsap Peninsula via the Edmonds–Kingston ferry.[25] The freeway continues through western Mountlake Terrace, passing the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and its median bus station near 236th Street Southwest. Upon entering Lynnwood, I-5 turns northeast and follows the Interurban Trail, passing the Lynnwood Transit Center, which is connected to the HOV lanes via a set of direct ramps.[44] Near the Lynnwood Convention Center, the freeway intersects SR 524 on 196th Street Southwest and its spur route on 44th Avenue West, and travels along the south side of the Alderwood Mall. To the east of the mall, I-5 intersects I-405 and SR 525.[20]

I-5 crosses into northern Lynnwood and intersects 164th Street Southwest near Martha Lake and Mill Creek, where a partial HOV ramp connects to the Ash Way Park and Ride.[45] The freeway continues north into Everett and intersects SR 96 southeast of Paine Field. It then passes Silver Lake, the South Everett park and ride, located in the freeway's median at 112th Street Northeast,[46] and a southbound-only rest area near the Everett Mall.[47] Northeast of the mall, I-5 comes to a major interchange with several highways: SR 99, which travels southwest as Everett Mall Way; SR 526, which travels west to the Boeing Everett Factory and Mukilteo; SR 527, which travels south through Mill Creek; and Broadway, which continues north into downtown Everett.[25][48]

From the mall interchange, I-5 descends towards the Lowell area on the east side of a hill with several suburban neighborhoods. Near the Everett Memorial Stadium and Lowell Park, the freeway intersects 41st Street in a single-point urban interchange, with additional ramps from the HOV and mainline lanes towards downtown Everett on Broadway.[49][50] I-5 then curves northeasterly around downtown Everett, following the general course of the Snohomish River, and intersects the southern terminus of SR 529 at a half-diamond interchange with Pacific Avenue and Maple Street near the Everett train station and transit center. One block north of the interchange, the freeway intersects US 2, a major highway that travels across Stevens Pass to eastern Washington.[25] To the north of the US 2 ramps is a second half-diamond interchange with SR 529 Spur on Everett Avenue, at which point the HOV lanes terminate and leave the freeway at six total lanes.[51][52] I-5 continues north through a narrow trench in the Riverside neighborhood and passes Summit Park, a city park built using leftover land and excavated dirt from the freeway's construction.[20][53]

The freeway crosses the Snohomish River and descends into the river's estuary, which has several sloughs that I-5 crosses.[54] It also passes the Everett Water Pollution Control Facility and several wastewater treatment ponds, which produces strong odors that are noted by motorists.[55] On the north side of Steamboat Slough, I-5 turns northwesterly and intersects SR 529 before crossing over the BNSF Railway and Ebey Slough into Marysville. Within Marysville, the freeway runs due north along the boundary between the city and the Tulalip Indian Reservation and intersects several arterial streets:[56] SR 528 west of downtown Marysville, 88th Street near Quil Ceda Village, and 116th Street near the Tulalip Resort Casino and Seattle Premium Outlets shopping mall.[20][57]

North of the city and reservation, I-5 crosses over the railroad and enters Arlington's Smokey Point neighborhood, where it intersects SR 531 just west of Arlington Municipal Airport. A pair of rest areas are situated north of the interchange and are the busiest in the state, receiving 2.1 million visitors per year.[58] The area around the freeway transforms from suburban to rural, with rolling hills and forested areas, as it approaches Island Crossing and an interchange with SR 530 west of downtown Arlington. North of Island Crossing, I-5 crosses the Stillaguamish River and passes the Stillaguamish Indian Reservation and the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort. The freeway continues northwest through rural Snohomish County and intersects SR 532 east of Stanwood before crossing into Skagit County.[20]

Skagit and Whatcom counties

The Peace Arch monument on the Canadian border marks where I-5 enters British Columbia as Highway 99

From the Snohomish County line, the freeway turns north and descends into the Skagit Valley, following the Skagit River that runs to its west. At Conway, I-5 intersects SR 534 and is joined by the BNSF railroad while continuing north towards Mount Vernon. The freeway narrows to four lanes within Mount Vernon and forms the boundary between the uphill suburban neighborhoods and downtown along the river. In downtown Mount Vernon, it intersects SR 536 in an interchange adjacent to the city's train station. At its next interchange, I-5 crosses the railroad and encounters SR 538, which connects the freeway to the Skagit Valley College and a minor retail corridor.[20] The freeway then crosses the Skagit River into Burlington on a bridge that partially collapsed on May 23, 2013, and was subsequently renamed the Trooper Sean M. O'Connell Jr. Memorial Bridge after a state trooper who died while directing detour traffic during its rebuilding.[59][60]

On the north side of the river, I-5 skirts the western edge of Burlington, passing car dealerships and retail stores, including the Cascade Mall and an outlet mall.[61][62] To the west of downtown Burlington, the freeway intersects SR 20, a major state highway, in a partial cloverleaf interchange that includes several businesses inside the western loop.[63] SR 20 continues west towards Anacortes and the Olympic Peninsula, and east through North Cascades National Park to the Okanogan Country as the North Cascades Highway. In northern Burlington, I-5 intersects the southern end of SR 11, which provides access to the western Chuckanut Mountains.[25] I-5 crosses the railroad and the Samish River before reaching the Skagit Casino Resort and Skagit Speedway near Bow and Alger, located in the middle of the heavily forested Chuckanut foothills. The freeway then travels up into the Chuckanut Mountains and crosses into Whatcom County south of Lake Samish.[20]

I-5 travels along the eastern shore of Lake Samish before turning west to follow Chuckanut Creek through a narrow valley formed by Chuckanut and Lookout mountains in Lake Samish State Park. At Lake Padden, it turns north and enters the city of Bellingham, intersecting SR 11 east of Fairhaven and the Alaska Marine Highway terminal.[25] The freeway travels along the east side of Sehome Hill and downtown, passing the Western Washington University campus and several intersections with downtown streets. Northeast of downtown Bellingham, I-5 intersects SR 542 (the Mount Baker Highway) and turns west to meet SR 539 at the Bellis Fair Mall. The freeway heads northwest and leaves Bellingham after passing Bellingham International Airport, entering the predominately rural part of the Fraser Lowland region.[64] I-5 continues northwest along the railroad, crossing the Nooksack River near downtown Ferndale and intersecting SR 548 north of the city, providing access to the Cherry Point Refinery and Birch Bay.[20][65]

In Blaine, the northernmost city on I-5, SR 543 splits off to serve an alternate border crossing for trucks and freight.[66] I-5 travels along the northeast edge of downtown Blaine and intersects SR 548 before it reaches the Canadian border at the Peace Arch, where the highway terminates.[20][67] The monument was built in 1921 and its surrounding park is open to the public without needing to report to customs officers.[68] The park is connected to its administrative buildings and parking lots by a set of crosswalks across the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 5.[67] The Peace Arch–Douglas crossing is the westernmost on the mainland border and third-busiest,[67] with an average of 3,500 to 4,800 vehicles crossing per day.[69] The highway continues north as Highway 99 towards Vancouver, located 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Blaine.[70]

Seattle express lanes

The express lanes on the Ship Canal Bridge

I-5 has 7.14 miles (11.49 km)[4] of reversible express lanes within Seattle, which carry traffic in the peak direction on weekdays. The express lanes run in the median of the freeway between Downtown Seattle and Northgate, carrying 54,000 of the 270,000 vehicles on the Ship Canal Bridge on an average weekday, as measured in 2010.[71] The express lanes split from I-5 near James Street, with ramps to the mainline near the northbound Seneca Street exit; the southernmost downtown exit is at 5th Avenue and Cherry and Columbia streets under the Seattle Municipal Tower and adjacent to Seattle City Hall.[72][73]

The express lanes run through downtown and the Cascade neighborhood on the lower deck of I-5's southbound lanes, with ramps to the Pike Street at 9th Avenue, Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel's Convention Place station, and Stewart and Howell streets at Eastlake Avenue.[74][75] After the ramps from Mercer Street, the four-abreast express lanes emerge onto the median of I-5, following it past Capitol Hill and Eastlake to the Ship Canal Bridge. The express lanes cross the Ship Canal on the lower deck of the bridge, which includes an exit to Northeast 42nd Street in the University District. A southbound-only, HOV-only onramp from Ravenna Boulevard and an additional ramp to SR 522 connect the express lanes to North Seattle, leaving two express lanes and an HOV lane. The express lanes end southwest of the Northgate Mall, with a ramp to Northeast 103rd Street and the two remaining lanes merging onto I-5.[20][74] The downtown entrances at Cherry, Columbia, and Pike streets are designated for HOV use only to encourage carpooling without impacting buses using the ramps.[76][77][78]

The express lanes typically carry southbound traffic from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and northbound traffic from 11:15 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, with an overnight closure from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. On most weekends, the lanes are open to southbound traffic from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and northbound traffic from 1:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., with an overnight closure to reduce neighborhood noise.[79] The weekend times are sometimes adjusted for special events, including weekend sporting events, or construction on the mainline lanes in Seattle.[80] The express lanes are controlled by a series of movable gates and electronic signs controlled by a remote operations center that relies on CCTV cameras and an inspection and sweep for abandoned vehicles a ground crew, who also set up safety nets during the 15-minute switch-over.[81][82] Prior to a $6.6 million project to automate the gates and signage in 2012, the switch-over took 50 minutes in total.[81][83]

Express lane exit list

The entire highway is in Seattle, King County.

mi[4] km Destinations Notes
165.29 266.01 I-5 south South end of express lanes
165.62 266.54 5th Avenue, Columbia Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance (HOV only)
166.49 267.94 Pike Street (Transit Tunnel) Southbound exit and northbound entrance (HOV only)
166.63 268.16 Stewart Street – Seattle City Center Southbound exit and northbound entrance
167.20–
167.26
269.08–
269.18
Mercer Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
168.96 271.91 Northeast 42nd Street – University of Washington Northbound exit and southbound entrance
169.66 273.04 Ravenna Boulevard Southbound entrance only (HOV only)
170.54 274.46 SR 522 (Lake City Way) – Bothell Northbound exit and southbound entrance
172.07 276.92 Northeast 103rd Street, 1st Avenue Northeast Northbound exit and southbound entrance
172.43 277.50 I-5 north – Everett, Vancouver, BC North end of express lanes
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

History

Early state and national highways

WA-PSH1.svg US 99 (1961).svg
The shields for Primary State Highway 1 and U.S. Route 99, both predecessors of I-5

The Pacific Highway was formed in 1913 by the state government as the north–south trunk in its first highway system, following the general route of modern-day I-5.[84] The trunk route, one of three suggested by good roads activists for several years and studied by the state legislature in 1909,[84][85] strung together several wagon trails dating back as early as the 1840s, when settlers arrived in the Puget Sound region from the Willamette Valley via the Cowlitz Trail.[86] It was part of a longer route along the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico, which was conceived by the Pacific Highway Association of North America in 1910 and would ultimately be completed in 1927 with the opening of several bridges between Everett and Marysville.[84][87]

The State Highway Board selected a route that would connect the main cities of Western Washington, which were Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, and Bellingham.[88][89] In 1923, by which time the entire road had been improved,[90] the highway became State Road 1 (Primary State Highway 1 after 1937), but retained its name.[91] By that time, most of the route of Interstate 5 became US 99, which was established in 1926.[92][93][94]

Later in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 which started the construction of Interstate Highways.[95][96] In 1968, US 99 was removed from the system entirely, a year before the last portion of Interstate 5 opened on November 14, 1969.[97] Legally, the Washington section of I-5 is defined at Washington Revised Code § 47.17.020.[98] Several projects are currently ongoing and have been completed in the recent years on I-5.[99]

Seattle

Interstate 5 cutting through the Seattle skyline

South of the Ship Canal Bridge Interstate 5 separates the Eastlake and Cascade neighborhoods from the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and separates Downtown Seattle from the Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods. Its construction necessitated the demolition of significantly developed areas and cut off walking commutes to downtown for many First Hill residents, who "were by far the most vociferous critics of the proposed route,"[100] but far from the only ones. Architect Paul Thiry said in the early 1970s, "It was with the Freeway, cutting through the very heart of the city, that Seattle began taking one of its wrong turns and started to lose its identity as a city." He proposed a lid extending from Columbia Street north to Olive Way, roughly the entire length of downtown.[101]

Among the buildings torn down in the Downtown-First Hill area to build the freeway was the Hotel Kalmar at Sixth Avenue and James Street (built 1881 as the Western Hotel, demolished 1962), the last of Seattle's pioneer-era hotels, predating the Great Seattle Fire,[102][103] and Seattle's then-oldest public building, the Seventh Avenue Fire Hall (built 1890, demolished c. 1962).[100]

In the years since the freeway's construction, Seattle has made several efforts to stitch back together pedestrian routes disrupted by the freeway, achieving part of Thiry's proposed "lid". The most visible of these efforts are Freeway Park (opened 1976), built as a lid over the freeway and connecting Downtown to First Hill, and the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (built 1982-1988) adjacent to Freeway Park, also bridging the freeway.[100] The 7.5-acre (30,000 m2) I-5 Colonnade mountain bike park (opened 2007) uses the freeway as a roof and reconnects Eastlake to Capitol Hill.[104]

The Interstate 5 separates Capitol Hill (right) from South Lake Union (center) and Downtown Seattle (left).

Freeway construction

The 19.7 miles (31.7 km) section between Seattle and Everett was opened on February 3, 1965 by Miss Sno-King Rose Clare Menalo of Meadowdale High School.[105][106]

The portion of I-5 from US 2 / SR 529 Spur in Everett to SR 528 in Marysville opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 14, 1969 by Devvie Herivel, Miss Everett, and Katherine Smith, Miss Marysville. This was the last portion of Interstate 5 from California to Canada that was opened, free of traffic lights and draw bridges.[107] The stretch of I-5 from Marysville to Mount Vernon was already opened as a 4-lane divided highway without overpasses.[108]

Recent history

Flooding near Chehalis closed I-5 for four days in December 2007.

During the past two decades, parts of the interstate have been periodically inundated by floodwaters as a result of area storms. Floods in November 1990, February 1996, December 2007, and January 2009[109] each caused temporary closures of I-5 between the Kelso-Longview and Chehalis-Centralia areas. The causes of this problem, as noted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, are attributable to "decades of clear-cut logging, modifications of waterways, and destruction of natural flood control features within the Chehalis River basin."[110]

The December 3, 2007, flood closed a 20-mile (32 km) section of the interstate for four days. The Washington State Department of Transportation recommended a 440-mile (710 km) detour between Portland and Seattle, by way of I-90, I-82, and I-84, adding 270 miles (430 km) to the 170-mile (270 km) trip.[111][112][113]

The January 7, 2009 flood closed a 20-mile (32 km) section of the interstate for several days. The Washington State Department of Transportation was unable to offer a detour since all three main east/west passes were also closed due to severe mudslide and avalanche danger.

On May 23, 2013, the northbound span of the I-5 Skagit River bridge between Mt. Vernon and Burlington collapsed.[114]

On December 18, 2017, an Amtrak train derailed onto the southbound lanes of I-5, causing it to be blocked for hours.[115]

Future

On Interstate 5, the only planned improvement to the express lanes is a direct connection to the future SR 520 HOV lanes, to be constructed as part of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge replacement project.

Exit list

County Location mi[4] km Exit Destinations Notes
Columbia River 0.00 0.00 I-5 south – Portland Continuation into Oregon
Interstate Bridge
Clark Vancouver 0.41 0.66 1A SR 14 east – Camas
0.45 0.72 1B 6th Street – Vancouver City Center Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.05 1.69 1C SR 501 (Mill Plain Boulevard) – Vancouver City Center, Port of Vancouver
1.58 2.54 1D 4th Plain Boulevard
2.35 3.78 2 SR 500 east / 39th Street
3.07 4.94 3 Northeast Highway 99, Main Street
4.36 7.02 4 Northeast 78th Street
5.39 8.67 5 Northeast 99th Street
7.24 11.65 7A Northeast 134th Street - Washington State University Vancouver Northbound exit and southbound entrance; southbound exit is via I-205 (exit 36)
7B Northeast 139th Street No southbound exit
7.48 12.04 7 I-205 south to I-84 / SR 14 / Northeast 134th Street – Salem, Washington State University Vancouver Southbound exit and northbound entrance
9.51 15.30 9 Northeast 179th Street – Clark County Fairgrounds
11.20 18.02 11 SR 502 east (Northeast 219th Street) – Battle Ground
Ridgefield 14.21 22.87 14 SR 501 south (Pioneer Street) – Ridgefield
16.80 27.04 16 NW La Center Road - La Center, Cowlitz Reservation
Cowlitz Woodland 21.08 33.92 21 SR 503 east – Woodland, Cougar
22.72 36.56 22 Dike Access Road
27.70 44.58 27 Todd Road – Port of Kalama
Kalama 29.84–
30.64
48.02–
49.31
30 Kalama
32.28 51.95 32 Kalama River Road
Kelso 36.97 59.50 36A Kelso Drive No southbound exit
36.97 59.50 36 Talley Way - Kelso Industrial Area Signed as exits 36B northbound and 36A southbound
36.97 59.50 36 SR 432 west to SR 4 / US 30 – Longview, Long Beach, Kelso
39.88 64.18 39 SR 4 west (Allen Street) – Kelso
40.77 65.61 40 To SR 4 / North Kelso Avenue – Kelso, Longview, Long Beach
42.73 68.77 42 Lexington Bridge Road
46.20 74.35 46 Headquarters Road, Pleasant Hill Road
Castle Rock 48.04 77.31 48 I‑5 Bus. north (Huntington Avenue) – Castle Rock
49.91 80.32 49 SR 411 south (I-5 Bus. south) / SR 504 east – Castle Rock, Toutle
52.72 84.84 52 Barnes Drive, Toutle Park Road
Lewis 57.41 92.39 57 Jackson Highway, Barnes Drive
59.27 95.39 59 SR 506 – Vader, Ryderwood
60.98 98.14 60 SR 506 west (Toledo Vader Road)
63.49 102.18 63 SR 505 – Winlock, Toledo
68.48 110.21 68 US 12 east – Yakima, Morton South end of US 12 overlap
Napavine 71.12 114.46 71 SR 508 east – Onalaska, Napavine
72.85 117.24 72 Rush Road
Chehalis 74 Labree Road
76.62 123.31 76 13th Street
78.04 125.59 77 SR 6 west – Pe Ell, Raymond
79.15 127.38 79 Chamber Way
Centralia 81.74 131.55 81 SR 507 north (Mellen Street) - Centralia Southbound exit is via exit 82
82.80 133.25 82 Harrison Avenue, Factory Outlet Way
Thurston 88.40 142.27 88 US 12 west – Aberdeen, Tenino North end of US 12 overlap
95.28 153.34 95 SR 121 north – Littlerock, Maytown
99.35 159.89 99 SR 121 south (93rd Avenue)
Tumwater 101.37 163.14 101 Tumwater Boulevard – Olympia Regional Airport
102.86 165.54 102 Trosper Road – Black Lake
104.05 167.45 103 Deschutes Way, 2nd Avenue No southbound entrance
104.39 168.00 104 US 101 north – Aberdeen, Port Angeles
Olympia 105.52 169.82 105A State Capitol, Olympia City Center Signed as exit 105 northbound
105.82 170.30 105B Port of Olympia Signed as exit 105 northbound
107.52 173.04 107 Pacific Avenue
Lacey 108.46 174.55 108A Sleater–Kinney Road south No northbound entrance; signed as exit 108 southbound
108.46 174.55 108B Sleater–Kinney Road north No northbound entrance; southbound exit is via exit 109
108.96 175.35 108C College Street Northbound exit only
109.19 175.72 109 Martin Way
112.01 180.26 111 SR 510 east (Marvin Road) – Yelm
114.36 184.04 114 Nisqually, Old Nisqually
Pierce 116.77 187.92 116 Mounts Road – Old Nisqually
DuPont 118.02 189.93 118 Center Drive - DuPont
119.07 191.62 119 Steilacoom–DuPont Road
120.93 194.62 120 Joint Base Lewis–McChord
Lakewood 122.74 197.53 122 Berkeley Street
123.64 198.98 123 Thorne Lane
124.70 200.69 124 Gravelly Lake Drive
125.92 202.65 125 Bridgeport Way – McChord Field
127.54 205.26 127 SR 512 east / South Tacoma Way – Puyallup
128.98 207.57 128 South 84th Street Southbound exit is via exit 129
Tacoma 129.65 208.65 129 South 72nd Street / South 74th Street
130.75 210.42 130 South 56th Street, Tacoma Mall Boulevard - University Place
131.89 212.26 132 SR 16 west (South 38th Street) – Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Tacoma Mall
133.76 215.27 133 I-705 north / SR 7 south (Pacific Avenue) – Tacoma City Center
134.93 217.15 134 Portland Avenue Southbound exit is via exit 135
135.09 217.41 135 SR 167 north – Puyallup
Fife 136.15 219.11 136 20th Street East – Port of Tacoma Signed as exits 136A (20th Street) and 136B (Port of Tacoma) northbound
137.51 221.30 137 SR 99 north (54th Avenue East, Valley Avenue East) – Milton, Fife
King Federal Way 142.06 228.62 142 SR 18 (South 348th Street) – North Bend, Auburn Signed as exits 142A (east) and 142B (west)
143.89 231.57 143 South 320th Street – Federal Way
144.08 231.87 South 317th Street HOV only
Kent 146.87 236.36 147 South 272nd Street
149.23 240.16 149 SR 516 – Kent, Des Moines Signed as exits 149A (east) and 149B (west) northbound
SeaTac 151.24 243.40 151 Military Road, South 200th Street
152.32 245.14 152 South 188th Street, Orillia Road South
Tukwila 154.19 248.14 153 Southcenter Parkway – Tukwila, Southcenter Mall Northbound exit and southbound entrance
154.46 248.58 154 I-405 north / SR 518 west – Sea-Tac Airport, Renton, Burien, Bellevue Signed as exits 154A (I-405) and 154B (SR 518) southbound
154.71 248.98 154B Southcenter Boulevard – Tukwila, Southcenter Mall Southbound exit and northbound entrance
156.00 251.06 156 SR 599 north (West Marginal Way) / Interurban Avenue – Tukwila
157.40 253.31 157 SR 900 east (M. L. King Way)
158.07 254.39 158 Boeing Access Road, East Marginal Way, Airport Way
Seattle 161.27 259.54 161 Swift Avenue, Albro Place
161.37–
161.60
259.70–
260.07
162 Corson Avenue, Michigan Street
163.03 262.37 163A Columbian Way, West Seattle Bridge Signed as exit 163 northbound
163.54 263.19 163B Forest Street, 6th Avenue South Southbound exit only
164 Airport Way Southbound exit only
164.55 264.82 164A I-90 east – Bellevue, Spokane Signed as exit 164 southbound; I-90 exits 2A-B eastbound, 2B-C westbound
164.55 264.82 164B 4th Avenue South / South Atlantic Street (SR 519) Signed as exit 164 southbound
164.68 265.03 164 Dearborn Street Signed as exit 164A northbound; no southbound entrance
165.35 266.11 Express Lanes Northbound exit and southbound entrance
165.38 266.15 165A James Street Signed as exit 164A northbound
165.63 266.56 164A Madison Street – Convention Center Northbound exit only
165.75 266.75 165 Seneca Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
165.81 266.85 165B Union Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
166.26 267.57 166 Olive Way Northbound exit and entrance
166.42 267.83 166 Stewart Street, Denny Way Southbound exit and entrance
167 Mercer Street – Seattle Center
167.73 269.94 168A Lakeview Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
168.12 270.56 168B SR 520 – Bellevue, Kirkland
168.18 270.66 168A Boylston Avenue, Roanoke Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
169.44 272.69 169 Northeast 45th Street
169.69 273.09 169 Northeast 50th Street
170.31 274.09 170 Ravenna Boulevard, Northeast 65th Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
170.70 274.72 171 Northeast 71st Street, Northeast 65th Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
170.87 274.99 171 SR 522 (Lake City Way) – Bothell Northbound exit and southbound entrance
171.56 276.10 172 North 85th Street, Aurora Avenue North (to SR 99), Northeast 80th Street
172.58 277.74 Express Lanes Southbound exit and northbound entrance
172.82 278.13 173 1st Avenue Northeast, Northgate Way
173.89 279.85 174 Northeast 130th Street, Roosevelt Way Northbound exit and southbound entrance
SeattleShoreline
city line
174.64 281.06 175 SR 523 (Northeast 145th Street) / 5th Avenue Northeast
Shoreline 175.58 282.57 Metro Transit Base Transit Base traffic only
176.19 283.55 176 Northeast 175th Street – Shoreline
KingSnohomish
county line
ShorelineMountlake Terrace
city line
177.81 286.16 177 SR 104 (Northeast 205th Street) – Edmonds, Lake Forest Park
Snohomish Mountlake Terrace 178.33 286.99 178 236th Street Southwest – Mountlake Terrace Northbound exit and southbound entrance
179.35 288.64 179 220th Street Southwest – Mountlake Terrace
Lynnwood 180.69 290.79 46th Avenue West (Lynnwood Transit Center) HOV only
180.77 290.92 181A To SR 524 / 44th Avenue West – Lynnwood Northbound exit and southbound entrance
181.59 292.24 181B SR 524 (196th Street Southwest) / Alderwood Mall Parkway – Lynnwood Signed as exit 181 southbound
182.67 293.98 182 I-405 south – Renton, Bellevue
182.67 293.98 182 SR 525 north to SR 99 – Mukilteo Northbound exit and southbound entrance
183.96 296.05 183 164th Street Southwest
184.21 296.46 Ash Way Northbound exit and southbound entrance (buses only)
186.49 300.13 186 SR 96 east (128th Street Southwest)
Everett 187.80 302.23 112th Street Southeast HOV only
189.37 304.76 189 SR 99 south (Everett Mall Way) / SR 526 west / SR 527 south / Broadway – Mukilteo, Whidbey Island Ferry
192.51 309.81 Broadway Northbound exit southbound entrance (HOV only)
192.72 310.15 192 41st Street, Evergreen Way, Broadway
193.69 311.71 193 SR 529 (Pacific Avenue) – Everett City Center Northbound exit and southbound entrance
193.98 312.18 194 US 2 east – Snohomish, Wenatchee
194.08 312.34 194 SR 529 (Everett Avenue) – Everett City Center Southbound exit and northbound entrance
194.87 313.61 195 Marine View Drive – Port of Everett Northbound exit and southbound entrance
198.33 319.18 198 SR 529 south (North Broadway) – Port of Everett Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Marysville 199.17 320.53 199 SR 528 east – Marysville, Tulalip
200.84 323.22 200 88th Street Northeast, Quil Ceda Way
202.52 325.92 202 116th Street Northeast
206.13 331.73 206 SR 531 (172nd Street Northeast) – Arlington, Marysville
Arlington 208.72 335.90 208 SR 530 east – Silvana, Arlington, Darrington
210.36 338.54 210 236th Street Northeast
212.71 342.32 212 SR 532 west – Stanwood, Camano Island
215.09 346.15 215 300th Street Northwest
Skagit 218.61 351.82 218 Starbird Road
221.13 355.87 221 SR 534 east – Lake McMurray
224.00 360.49 224 Old Highway 99 South Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Mount Vernon 225.19 362.41 225 Anderson Road
226.45 364.44 226 SR 536 west (Kincaid Street)
227.79 366.59 227 SR 538 east (College Way)
Burlington 228.93 368.43 229 George Hopper Road
230.20 370.47 230 SR 20 – Anacortes, Burlington
231.27 372.19 231 SR 11 north (Chuckanut Drive) – Bow, Edison, Burlington
232.89 374.80 232 Cook Road – Sedro-Woolley
236.45 380.53 236 Bow Hill Road – Bow, Edison
240.99 387.84 240 Alger
Whatcom 242.92 390.94 242 Nulle Road – South Lake Samish
246.30 396.38 246 North Lake Samish
Bellingham 250.79 403.61 250 SR 11 south (Old Fairhaven Parkway, Chuckanut Drive) - Alaska Marine Highway
252.14 405.78 252 Samish Way – Western Washington University
253.03 407.21 253 Lakeway Drive
253.85 408.53 254 Iowa Street, Ohio Street, State Street
254.88 410.19 255 SR 542 east (Sunset Drive) – Mt. Baker
256.27 412.43 256 SR 539 north (Meridian Street) / Bellis Fair-Mall Parkway Signed as exits 256A (SR 539) and 256B (Bellis Fair-Mall Parkway) northbound
257.04 413.67 257 Northwest Avenue
257.72 414.76 258 Bakerview Road – Bellingham International Airport
260.19 418.74 260 Slater Road – Lummi Island
Ferndale 262.63 422.66 262 Main Street – Ferndale City Center
263.52 424.09 263 Portal Way
266.04 428.15 266 SR 548 north (Grandview Road) – Custer
270.30 435.01 270 Birch Bay, Lynden
Blaine 274.23 441.33 274 Peace Portal Drive – Semiahmoo Northbound exit and southbound entrance
275.21 442.91 275 SR 543 north to Hwy 15 – Pacific Border Crossing (Truck Customs) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
276.26 444.60 276 SR 548 south – Blaine City Center, Peace Arch State Park
276.62 445.18 Canada – United States border at Peace Arch Border Crossing
Hwy 99 north – Vancouver Continuation into British Columbia
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References

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  102. ^ Victor Steinbrueck, Seattle Cityscape, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1962, p. 43.
  103. ^ Paul Dorpat (January 1, 1999). "Now & Then -- Seattle's Kalmar Hotel". HistoryLink. Retrieved November 7, 2007. 
  104. ^ Greg Johnston (March 29, 2007). "Mountain-bike club reclaims a wasteland". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved November 7, 2007. [dead link]
  105. ^ David A. Cameron; Lynne Grimes; Jane Wyatt (2005). "Chapter 11: 1965-2004". In David A. Cameron, Jane Wyatt. Snohomish County: An Illustrated History. cover design by James D. Kramer. Kelcema Books LLC. ISBN 0-9766700-0-3. 
  106. ^ Cameron 2004, pp. 331, 332, "On February 3, 1965, Rose Clare Menalo of Meadowdale High School, Miss Sno-King, cut the ribbon which opened the long awaited 19.7 miles of the Everett to Seattle section of the new I-5 freeway."
  107. ^ Cameron 2004, p. 332, "It was still another year later when on May 14, 1969 Devvie Herivel, Miss Everett, and Katherine Smith, Miss Marysville, snipped the ribbon of the four-mile stretch across the Snohomish River flats to open a route free of traffic signals and draw bridges, finally linking Canada and California. Harold Walsh, state highways commissioner from Everett was master of ceremonies at the dedication taking place on the new Steamboat Slough bridge.
  108. ^ Cameron 2004, p. 332, "North if Marysville, where there was already a divided highway, it was mostly the matter of building overpasses along Highway 99 at such places as Island Crossing, Lakewood, and Stimson Crossing."
  109. ^ Mote, Philip; Josiah Mault; Valerie Duliere (December 2008). "The Chehalis River flood of December 3–4, 2007" (PDF). Office of Washington State Climatologist, University of Washington. Retrieved October 17, 2009. 
  110. ^ United States Army Corps of Engineers (2002). "US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program, Congressional Submission, Fiscal Year 2002, Northwestern Division" (PDF). p. 32 (report), p. 35 (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  111. ^ Fiman, Alice (December 12, 2007). "Interstate 5 Reopens to All Traffic Through Chehalis, Highways Still Closed Elsewhere in the State". Olympia, Washington: Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  112. ^ Washington State Department of Transportation. "I-5 2007 Flood Re-building Project". Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  113. ^ Bateman, Alissa (December 4, 2007). "I-5 Remains Closed in Lewis County". Olympia, Washington: Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on August 11, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  114. ^ An I-5 Bridge Over the Skagit River Has Collapsed, The Stranger, May 23, 2013
  115. ^ Pearce, Matt; Nelson, Laura J. (December 18, 2017). "Amtrak train derails over I-5 in Washington state; 3 people killed". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 

External links

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
  • Media related to Category:Interstate 5 in Washington (state) at Wikimedia Commons
  • Interstate 5 at Highways of Washington State
  • Interstate 5 at AARoads


Interstate 5
Previous state:
Oregon
Washington Next state:
Terminus
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