It has been a busy month for vehicles versus large stationary objects

Image: @jordanilarde

Image: @jordanilarde

June has gotten off to a real bang. There have been no less than three vehicle-versus-large-object collisions in Montlake since the beginning of the month. First, there was a June 3rd collision at the Snohomish Overpass to Hec-Ed on Montlake Blvd (above). Then early Tuesday morning, a car crashed into a house on 24th Ave E just after 1am.

The woman’s boyfriend told KIRO 7 a small animal startled her as she was behind the wheel, and she panicked, causing her to back abruptly from her driveway, through a fence, and into the house next door.

Inside the home, part of the rear bumper was visible through a large crack in the wall.  The impact scattered furniture and other belongings around the living room.  Firefighters put yellow tape across the room to keep the couple out of the area that might have been unsafe.  Neither they, nor the driver were injured.

Image: KIRO 7 News

And today, the Washington State Patrol responded to a truck collision with the Arboretum’s Wilcox Footbridge, a popular place for overheight vehicle strikes. While it appeared no one was injured, the truck’s rack and roof were destroyed.

Image: Montlaker

Image: Montlaker

The 1910 bridge seemed okay. It has seen worse, like this 2008 Garfield High School charter bus collision.

In other large-object-news, Pontoon T, one of the cracked pontoons for the new 520 Bridge, is heading off to dry dock today. Tug boats Solana and Mudcat will guide ‘T’ through the Ballard Locks around 6pm, before overnighting in Shilshole Bay. Tomorrow ‘T’ begins a 4-5 journey to Portland, OR, where it will be retrofitted with post-tensioned tendons and carbon fiber wrap to seal up its concrete cracks. More info on pontoon progress from WSDOT here.

Wrong way driver charged with vehicular homicide

From the King County Prosecutor’s office:

Vehicular Homicide Charge Filed in SR-520 Collision: Michael Anthony Robertson was charged this afternoon with Vehicular Homicide for a collision on SR-520 near Montlake that killed a woman who was driving to work yesterday morning. The defendant is accused of being under the influence alcohol and going the wrong way on SR-520 before colliding with a car driven by Morgan Williams, 58. If convicted as charged, the sentence range is 78 to 102 months in prison. Robertson, 25, will be booked into the King County Jail after he is released from the hospital. Bail has been set at $1 million. Last year, the Washington State Legislature approved a bill that doubled the standard range for vehicular homicide (DUI), making it equal to a sentence for manslaughter in the first degree. Robertson will be arraigned on April 18 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 1201 at the King County Courthouse.

Update 5:30pm:

From King County Superior Court charging documents:

…fixing the bail of the defendant in the amount of $1,000,000.

He entered the 520 bridge from Seattle to drive eastbound toward Bellevue, but U-turned and began accelerating the wrong-way back toward Seattle.

The defendant came around the corner and slammed into her car with a closing speed of approximately 100mph under the Montlake Street overpass. Both cars slid westbound and came to rest just west of the overpass.

The defendant was trapped in his car with a broken ankle. He kept trying to exit the car and “go home.”

An open, nearly empty bottle of whiskey was in his front seat.

The rest of the details here.

This post has been corrected: “closing speed” refers to the speed at which the two vehicles approached each other at impact.

Victim of wrong way crash dies

Image: Twitter @JonRepp

Image: Twitter @JonRepp

The victim in this morning’s wrong way, head on collision has died according to The Seattle Times:

A woman died from her injuries late this morning after a wrong-way driver slammed head-on into her car on Highway 520 near Montlake Boulevard about 5:30 a.m.

Police arrested the driver of the other car and said it appeared he had been drinking.

The Washington State Patrol says the woman who died is Morgan F. Williams, 58, of Seattle. The driver of the other vehicle, an SUV, was identified as 25-year-old Michael A. Robertson of Tacoma. He suffered a leg injury and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. State Patrol Sgt. John Sager said the man was arrested for investigation of vehicular assault.

Sager said Robertson drove his 1993 Ford Explorer westbound into the eastbound lanes of Highway 520, crashing head-on into Williams’ Mazda Protege.

Eastbound traffic was closed for more than two hours while rescuers cut the woman from her car. She was taken to Harborview, where she died, said State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins.

This alcohol-fueled fatality comes on the heels of a March 25th drunk driving assault on a family walking across N.E. 75th Ave in Wedgwood. Two people died in that incident, while a mother and newborn infant remain hospitalized. Today’s tragic assault on 520 is equally as senseless.

This wrong way collision has left many wondering just how Mr. Robertson managed to drive west on Eastbound 520. It appears he either entered onto 520 using the Eastbound on-ramps — or was traveling east on the mainline — then U-turned and traveled west in the opposite direction. Robertson’s SUV slammed into Williams’ sedan just west of the Montlake Blvd overpass. The victim was removed from the car after emergency crews cut off the roof of her car. Mr. Robertson was hospitalized with a leg injury.

If anyone has information about this incident, contact the Washington State Patrol at (425) 401-7740.

Heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Morgan Williams.

Wrong way collision blocks eastbound 520


An apparent head on collision shortly before 5:30am has blocked all lanes of eastbound 520 near Montlake Blvd. Seattle Fire reports one person has been taken to Harborview while another remains trapped.

News helicopters are hovering above the neighborhood. WSDOT reports this could be an “extended closure” and to avoid Eastbound 520 this morning.

Update 6:45am:

KIRO reports a Ford Explorer drove westbound into the eastbound lanes near Montlake Blvd. The State Patrol believes alcohol was a factor in this collision.

Hole closes middle Montlake Bridge lanes


Crews repairing hole in bridge deck. Image: Montlaker

A hole in the steel grating of the Montlake Bridge has closed the middle two lanes and caused huge traffic backups since it was discovered around 1pm this afternoon. Crews on the scene estimate another 40 minutes of work is needed to repair the damaged grating but can offer no guarantees (as of 7pm). Traffic is detouring through residential streets so be careful out there folks.

And in a cruel display of irony, adding to the parade of brake lights is the holiday parade of boats through the Montlake Cut:


UPDATE 7:35pm: Metro says all lanes are now back open.

520 weekend closure + “Vactoring Montlake Pits”

Image: WSDOT Flickr stream

Plan ahead for trips to and from the Eastside this weekend. It’s time for another full closure of SR-520 from Montlake Blvd to I-405 in Bellevue, from 11pm Friday to 5am Monday. Expect heavy traffic on I-90 as a result, especially Sunday evening before the Sounders playoff game at 6pm.

Crews will use the closure to set 18 concrete girders for the Bellevue Way overpass. These girders are up to 147 feet long and weigh up to 271,000 pounds. For comparison, the leetle beam in the photo above from last month’s closure — a meager 85,000 pounds.

WSDOT crews will also be out Sunday morning giving the Montlake Bridge it’s annual vacuum bath. The left lane in each direction will be closed from 6:30am – 11:30am while the large pits under the counterweights are cleaned out. The work is noisy due to large “vactor” trucks sucking up leaves, dirt and whatever else collects in the bridge’s nether regions.

Vactor truck. Image: WSDOT

“Vactoring Montlake Pits.” Image: WSDOT

Montlake Blvd weekend closure to detour past Agua Verde pick-up window


A full closure of Montlake Boulevard is planned for this weekend to give crews room to work on the pedestrian bridge connecting UW Station to the main campus. Northbound traffic will be re-routed around the Triangle Parking Garage, while southbound traffic will divert all the way to Boat Street, west of UW Medical Center. The southbound detour will be especially aggravating, adding an extra mile and several traffic lights just to journey past Husky Stadium.

Survival tip? Avoid Montlake Blvd all together or… when crawling past Hec-Ed, call in a taco order from Agua Verde and pick it up half-way through the detour. Take-out menu here.

Lane closure details from Sound Transit:

Friday, September 28 (7 p.m.) through Saturday, September 29, 2012 (2 a.m.)

Northbound on Montlake Blvd:

All lanes northbound on Montlake Blvd including the east sidewalk will be closed.
Northbound traffic must turn left on NE Pacific Street, right onto NE Pacific Place and turn left back onto Montlake Blvd at the signal. Pedestrians/Bicyclists must use the crosswalk and the west sidewalk between NE Pacific Street and NE Pacific Place.

Southbound on Montlake Blvd:

One southbound lane will be closed. The west sidewalk will be open between NE Pacific Street and NE Pacific Place.

Saturday, September 29 (2 a.m.) through Monday, October 1, 2012 (3 a.m.)

Northbound on Montlake Blvd:

All northbound lanes and the sidewalk will be closed between NE Pacific Street and NE Pacific Place. Northbound traffic must turn left on NE Pacific Street, right onto NE Pacific Place and turn left back onto Montlake Blvd at the signal.

Southbound on Montlake Blvd:

All southbound lanes and the sidewalk will be closed between NE Pacific Street and NE Pacific Place. Southbound traffic must turn right on NE Pacific Place, left onto Brooklyn, left onto NE Boat Street, left onto 15th Avenue NE, right onto NE Pacific Street, back to Montlake Blvd which merges with Montlake Blvd SB.


Weekend traffic survival guide: 520 Bridge, Arboretum, Montlake Blvd closures + Greek Festival

The 520 Bridge is closed this weekend to install fish-friendly culverts on the Eastside. Image: WSDOT Flickr stream

Your weekend traffic and Greek Festival survival guide:

520 Bridge closure

The 520 Bridge will close this weekend between I-405 in Bellevue and Montlake Blvd in Seattle, from 11pm Friday until 5am Monday morning. Drivers will have to detour around the lake or use the I-90 Bridge to avoid delays.

During the closure, WSDOT crews will dig a 30-foot deep trench under the highway, install huge fish culvert segments, cover them and repave the roadway for Monday morning’s commute. Crews will also divert the westbound lanes to the north near Evergreen Point Road.

Arboretum Lake Washington Blvd closure

This will be the last of three weekend closures for road improvements through the Arboretum. Lake Washington Blvd will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, from 6am until no later than 5pm each day. The work includes new LED street lights, a raised crosswalk, speed cushions, bicycle sharrows and asphalt repairs.


Montlake Blvd closure

While Sound Transit contractors continue to work on the UW Station pedestrian bridge, Montlake Blvd will be partially closed from 5am-4pm on Saturday, September 21st. Details from ST:

  • Closing NB lane on Montlake Blvd and sidewalk between NE Pacific Place and Street
  • Closing the SB Metro bus lane

St. Demetrios Greek Festival free parking & shuttle

Compounding traffic problems in the neighborhood, the Saint Demetrios Greek Festival is also this weekend. Shuttle buses will bring festival-goers to the church from free parking lots at Montlake Elementary School and Seattle Prep.

Got all that? Now… time to go get some of this:

Image: cityspoonful