Grab your sunscreen, earplugs and a pair of binoculars; now's the time to get ready for the Blue Angels.
It's also smart to pre-plan your route so you don't get stuck on the wrong side of Interstate 90 come showtime. The Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) role is to make sure drivers and pilots are safe during the annual event, which means road closures.
So take note, and plan ahead.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires WSDOT to close Interstate 90 while the Blue Angels perform. This is for the safety of both drivers and pilots.
You have questions; Patch has answers:
Which roads and ramps will be closed?
Interstate 90 will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, eastbound and westbound, mainline and express lanes, between Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:
- Thursday, Aug. 2: 9:45 a.m. - noon & 1:15 - 2:30 p.m., (Practice)
- Friday, Aug. 3: 12:45 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (Practice)
- Saturday, Aug. 4: 12:45 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (Full show)
- Sunday, Aug. 5: 12:45 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (Full show)
* The bridge highrises will still be accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. However, no one on foot or bike can travel beyond the highrises up to 30 minutes prior to posted closure times.
*I-90 east of Mercer Island will NOT be closed during the performance, although drivers should note that heavy congestion during these closures often restricts access to the exits.
The I-90 express lanes will close at 9 a.m. on Thursday and at 10:45 a.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The lanes will reopen to eastbound traffic by 3:30 p.m. each day.
Which ramps will be closed?
- Northbound I-5 to eastbound I-90 ramp (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- Southbound I-5 to eastbound I-90 ramp (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- Southbound and northbound Rainier Avenue ramps (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- 76th Avenue to westbound I-90 (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- Island Crest Way to westbound I-90 (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- Eastbound I-90 to West Mercer Way (closed up to 30 minutes prior to show or practice)
- East Mercer Way to westbound I-90 (closed up one hour prior to show or practice)
- West Mercer Way to westbound I-90 (up to one hour prior to show or practice)
Why does the bridge close before the Blue Angels actually perform?
Before each performance the Blue Angels will be in the air, but will not perform specific maneuvers. The bridge closes because it still poses a safety concern.
How will I know when the road is actually closed?
WSDOT will use variable message signs on I-5 and I-90 to countdown to the closures. We will also use social media such as Twitter to alert travelers. We strongly advise motorists to plan alternate routes in advance. Please do not expect to cross the bridge at the last minute. Congestion and unexpected delays on the roadway may leave you in your car sitting in traffic waiting out the performance.
Will the Blue Angels performance affect private pilots using other airports?
Renton Airport will be closed to private pilots during the Blue Angels performances:
- Thursday, Aug. 2: 10 a.m.- noon and 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 3: 12:45 p.m.- 2:40 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 4: 12:45 p.m.- 2:40 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 5: 12:45 p.m.- 2:40 p.m.
Boeing Field will be closed to private pilots during the Blue Angels performances. For information about specific closure times: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html
Will the SR 520 bridge be affected?
The SR 520 bridge will remain open to vehicle traffic and tolls will be collected according to the rate schedule. Drivers crossing SR 520 should expect heavy traffic, significant delays and plan for additional time to cross the lake.
Will the SR 520 bridge drawspan be opened for boats when the Blue Angels are flying?
No, the bridge drawspan will not open for any vessel during these times:
- Thursday, Aug. 2 - 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 3 - 12:30-7 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5 - 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Who will keep people and vehicles off the roadway during the performance?
WSDOT works with Washington State Patrol to control on-ramps and
off-ramps and keep pedestrians off I-90. The Washington State Patrol will open the roadway as soon as safely possible after the Blue Angels performances are finished.
WSDOT’s Incident Response Teams will also patrol SR 520, I-405 and
I-5 to keep these alternate routes free of disabled vehicles so traffic will move as freely as possible.
What if I have a medical emergency and I need to get to Harborview Medical Center or Children’s Hospital?
The center roadway of I-90 is reserved for this purpose. Contact 911 and Washington State Patrol will escort you to the hospital.
Where can I get more information?
(Ed. Note: Information provided by WSDOT)