• Roads return to normal after huge backups caused by Chinese President's motorcade


    Wednesday's evening commute was the worst of traffic backups during Chinese President Xi Jinping's travels from Seattle to Redmond and Tacoma and then back to Seattle.

    Xi's motorcade took almost every major freeway in his tour, forcing multiple freeway closures.


    6:56 p.m.: NB I-5 and all ramps are now back open.

    6:40 p.m.: All ramps to NB I-5 from the Pierce County line to Federal Way are back open.


    6:37 p.m.: All ramps to NB I-5 from Pacific Ave in Tacoma to the King County line are back open.

    6:23 p.m.: NB I-5 still closed at Pacific Ave in Tacoma ahead of the Chinese president's motorcade. Motorcade traveling from Tacoma. 


    6:09 p.m.: Chinese President Xi was speaking about the Sister City signing in 1993 -- in Tacoma. 


    6:01 p.m.: NB I-5 is packed solid from SR 16 to Pacific Avenue.


    5:55 p.m.: All ramps onto NB I-5 up to the West Seattle Bridge are now closed.

    5:49 p.m.: NB I-5 has just closed at Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. All ramps onto NB I-5 up to Tukwila are now closed -- including ramps from I-405 and SR 518.

    5:33 p.m.: SB I-5 is still extremely congested from I-90 to Boeing Field, but is recovering.


    5:13 p.m.: I-5 and I-405 have reopened to SB traffic. Significant delays remain on both routes. 

    4:58 p.m.: SB I-405 and all ramps are now back open. SB I-5 backed up almost to the West Seattle Bridge. 

    >> Watch Chopper 7 live over traffic

    4:41 p.m.: The motorcade was on the move again -- on westbound SR 520 in Redmond.

    4:29 p.m.: All ramps to WB SR 520 from NE 51st St in Redmond to I-405 in Bellevue and SB I-405 from SR 520 to I-5 in Southcenter now closed.

    4:22 p.m.: Other large backups: NB SR 167 from S 180th St to I-405, EB SR 518 from Sea-Tac Airport to I-5, WB SR 18 from Weyerhaeuser Way S to I-5

    4:16 p.m.: Big backups reported by traffic officials -- WB SR 520 to SR 202, SB I-405 to NE 85th Street, SB I-5 to mid-Boeing Field, SB SR 599 to Tukwila Intl Blvd.

    4:00 p.m.: SB I-5 backed up starting at Boeing Access Rd. SB I-405 backed up starting at NE 70th Pl. 


    3:56 p.m.: EB 520 is shut down from I-5 to Redmond. NB I-5 is shut down from Mercer to 520. Drivers are advised to use alternatives. 


    3:46 p.m.: SB I-5 is now closed at Southcenter Blvd.

    3:41 p.m.: SB I-405 is now closed at SR 520 in Bellevue. 

    3:23 p.m.: NE 40th in Redmond is open; proceed with caution.

    3:21 p.m.: WB SR 520 reopens to traffic; Chinese President's motorcade entering Microsoft campus.

    3:08 p.m.: NB I-5 mainline through downtown Seattle is now opened to traffic.

    3:01 p.m.: Advice from WSDOT traffic officials: If you need to travel through downtown Seattle right now, take SR 99. If you have to use I-5, the express lanes are still open.

    2:50 p.m.: Northeast 40th Street is closed in Redmond. City asks drivers to be patient.

    2:33 p.m.: Interstate 5 is closed Northbound from James Street to State Route 520; SR 520 closed eastbound.

    2:10 p.m.: Clashing protestors and supporters of Chinese President are filling sidewalks in Redmond outside Microsoft, where Xi will be visiting next.


    1:52 p.m.: I-5 express lanes are now open northbound.

    1:24 p.m: Seattle Monorail is back in service; Xi back at Westin.

    1:13 p.m: Police stopping downtown Seattle traffic for motorcade as Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant prepares for press conference criticizing Xi.

    1:06 p.m: Seattle Monorail is out of service for security.

    1:01 p.m: Motorcade likely heading back to Westin Hotel for private lunch.

    12:58 p.m: Southbound I-5 at SR 526 reopens.

    12:51 p.m: SB I-5 express lanes closed from Northgate to Mercer Street.

    12:50 p.m: Eastbound SR 526 reopens.

    12:41 p.m.: Xi is presented with window frame to commemorate historic visit to Boeing plant.  See photos of his visit so far here.

    12:38 p.m: Many people out of their vehicles standing around on SB I-5 in standstill traffic.

    <div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/KIRO7Seattle/videos/1075963109090108/" data-width="500"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/KIRO7Seattle/videos/1075963109090108/"><p>I-5 PARKING LOT: All lanes just reopened on Northbound I-5 at North 85th Street.The #ChinesePresident motorcade has...</p>Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/KIRO7Seattle">KIRO 7 Eyewitness News</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/KIRO7Seattle/videos/1075963109090108/">Wednesday, September 23, 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>

    12:34 p.m: President Xi concludes speech.

    12:30 p.m: SB I-5 in Everett has a 3 mile backup that is growing.


    12:25: p.m: President Xi speaking at Boeing plant.

    For the morning log, scroll down under the following section.

    Eariler, Xi toured the Boeing plant in Everett but is back in Seattle for a private lunch.

    For security reasons, exact freeway routes and closure times are not available, but drivers should expect major delays and closures on freeways.

     Per sources, a tentative Wednesday itinerary for Xi was released, but is all subject to change.

    • President Xi arrived at the Boeing plant in Everett about 11:20 a.m.  
    • Xi returned to the Westin Hotel for a private lunch. He left Boeing about 1 p.m.
    • President Xi will travel to Microsoft in Redmond at about 4 p.m. for a 4:30 p.m. event.
    • From Redmond, President Xi will head south to Tacoma to meet with students after 5 p.m.
    • Between 6-6:30 p.m., President Xi will return to the Westin in Seattle.

    KIRO 7 Traffic Anchor Alexis Smith said Xi’s Redmond visit may cause I-5 to SR 520 to shut down at 4 p.m.  After he leaves Microsoft, he may head down I-405 south to I-5 to travel to Lincoln High School in Tacoma at about 5 p.m. in the heat of rush hour.

    Those attending the 7 p.m. Sounders game at CenturyLink Field should plan ahead.


    Are buses affected?

    Yes, several buses for Sound Transit and Metro King County have been rerouted. For a full list, click here.

    Where is Xi now?

    Xi is at the Westin Hotel.


    Visit to Lincoln High School

    Preparations have been in progress at Lincoln High School. They've already blocked off public parking on the whole street around the school.


    On Tuesday, crews were bringing in boxes and furnishings to the auditorium.

    President Xi is expected to be there around 5 p.m. Wednesday.  School will be dismissed at 2:05 p.m. to prepare for the visit.

    About 300 pre-selected students from Lincoln will be there to greet the Chinese president when he arrives.

    Lincoln's principal says he can't share details of what President Xi will do there, but the school is working hard to make sure it goes smoothly.

    “The two people that are most concerned with this going smoothly are the mayor of the city and principal of the high school, and being married to one another means that we talk about it in the morning, we talk about it during the day, talk about it when we wake up in the middle of the night and we start all over the very next day," said Lincoln High School principal Pat Erwin.

    Protestors are expected to gather in front of the school.

    12:19 p.m: SB I-5 fully closed from 526 in Everett to express lanes at Northgate. SR 526 closed as well.

    11:59 a.m: Chinese president touring Boeing 787.

    11:46 a.m: Boeing event has not started. President running 30+ minutes late \.

    11:25: EB and WB SR 526 reopen.

    11:21 a.m: Motorcade arrives at Boeing plant.

    11:20 a.m: NB I-5 traffic backed up about 5 miles.

    11:15 a.m: The backup on NB I-5 is about 3 miles.

    11:11 a.m: Demonstrators protesting the Chinese president's visit near Paine Field in Everett.

    11:07 a.m: All lanes of NB I-5 at NE 85th  Street have reopened after motorcade passed. Traffic backed up to SR 520.

    11 a.m: Seattle monorial resumes service.

    10:59 a.m: State Patrol says EB and WB SR 526 will closed for next few hours.

    10:58 a.m: Drivers are see standing outside their vehicles on NB I-5 during the closure; going wrong way down ramps.

    10:50 a.m: Motorcade leaves Westin Hotel in Seattle.

    10:42 a.m: NB I-5 mainline backed up from about NE 50th to closure at NE 85th, about 2 miles.

    10:38 a.m: Motorcade has not left Seattle.

    10:31: Sound Transit Express routes 510/512, 511/513 are being held due to I-5 north closure.

    10:23 a.m: Northbound Interstate 5 has closed at NE 85th Street to SR 526 as Xi heads to the Boeing plant in Everett.

    10:10 a.m: Seattle Monorail goes out of service for security reasons.

    10:06 a.m: Traffic Anchor Alexis Smith: NB I-5 looking OK right now. Express lanes closed, guessing will close mainline near Northgate.

    10:01 a.m:   Traffic Anchor Alexis Smith: I believe Chinese president will be on the move soon & take NB I-5 express lanes to mainline to 526 for Boeing Tour. Expect delays NB I-5.

    9:36 a.m: DOT cameras are dark. Traffic Anchor Alexis Smith says drivers heading north of Seattle should avoid I-5.

    9:24 a.m: I-5 express lanes closed for Chinese president's motorcade, which is expect to leave Seattle around 10:30 a.m.  All indications is that the route will be northbound I-5 to SR 526 to Everett.

    9 a.m: Seattle activates Emergency Operations Center for Chinese delegation visitation.



     Follow this link to see raw video of the Chinese president's arrival at Paine Field in Everett. Use this link to see an interview with former Washington governor and former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke.

    Next Up: