Visit from Chinese president expected to tie up Puget Sound traffic, including in Tacoma

By Alexis Krell

Staff writer

September 20, 2015 10:09 AM

UPDATE: The city of Tacoma said in a statement Tuesday:

“On Wednesday, Sept. 23, there will be delays and closures taking place starting in the mid-to-late afternoon in and around Lincoln High School as well as around some parts of downtown Tacoma. This activity is expected to limit access to I-5 from SR-7 and I-705 with heavier than usual congestion surrounding these interchanges. While detours will be in place, travelers are advised to plan ahead and expect delays and closures.”

INITIAL POST: It’s not clear when, where or exactly how, but Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit is expected to tie up Puget Sound traffic this week.

Xi is in the area Tuesday through Thursday, but for security reasons his exact schedule and which roads it will affect won’t be released in advance.

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The trip will include a visit to Tacoma’s Lincoln High School on Wednesday.

Freeway closures, blocked regional arterials, and closed downtown Seattle streets should be expected, the Seattle Department of Transportation said.

Anyone who can work from home should do so, both Seattle and the state Department of Transportation said.

“Drivers can expect possible major traffic delays,” state DOT spokesman Doug Adamson said. “To help reduce congestion, we encourage drivers to delay or reschedule discretionary trips, or consider teleworking.”

If that’s not possible, Puget Sound residents should check local media outlets, DOT Twitter accounts or the state DOT website or call 511 before heading out, and should try to carpool or use public transit, officials said.