Seattle Area Highway Network

Currently, the Seattle area has a fairly good network of streets and highways.

There are three Interstate highways in the area.

I-5 is the main north-south freeway in the Pacific Coast states, extending from the Canadian border at Blaine, Washington, to the Mexican border at San Ysedro, California, just south of San Diego. I-5 passes north and south through Seattle, including Downtown Seattle.

I-405 is another north-south freeway that joins I-5 several miles north of Seattle (in Lynnwood) and just south of Seattle (in Tukwila), and provides both a bypass around Seattle and a main route serving the cities on the east side of Lake Washington, across the lake from Seattle. I-405 passes through Bothell, Woodinville, Kirkland, Bellevue, Renton, and Tukwila.

I-90 is a major east-west cross-country freeway that begins in Seattle and ends in Boston, Massachusetts. It begins just south of Downtown Seattle near Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners) and goes east, crossing Lake Washington on a pair of floating bridges, passing through Mercer Island, the south part of Bellevue, Issaquah, and North Bend.

In addition to the Interstates, there are several other important highways.

State Route 520 branches off from I-5 a couple miles north of Downtown Seattle, then goes east across Lake Washington on another floating bridge and passes through the south edge of Kirkland and the north edge of Medina and Bellevue before ending in Redmond.

The problem here, as in other cities, is that even though the highway network is very good, there are just too many cars, resulting in severe traffic congestion. Improvements to the highway system only result in more traffic, therefore more congestion.

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©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 16 May 2018.

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