Local Information

Travelers heeded advice; no major weekend delays during I-90 expansion joint replacement project

Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 16:26

Bart Treece, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4473

Major test to come Monday morning during weekday commute

MERCER ISLAND – Weekend traffic flowed smoothly for the majority of the weekend despite westbound Interstate 90 being reduced to just a single lane at Bellevue Way for major expansion joint repair.

The next big hurdle for drivers comes Monday morning when thousands of people must return to work.

“Drivers can’t let their guard down,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Mark Bandy, “We still have four more days to get through and more drivers will be on the road tomorrow. We still need travelers to stay engaged, stagger their commutes, use alternate routes and allow extra time.”

Tonight, contractor crews working for WSDOT are expected to shift traffic to the left, and begin work on the joints located along the right lanes of I-90. This traffic shift will mark the beginning of the second stage of the project to replace two deteriorating 33-year-old expansion joints. Contractor crews will begin reconfiguring the work zone at 10 p.m. and temporarily close several ramps to I-90 overnight:

  • 9 p.m. Sunday, July 20 - 5 a.m. Monday, July 21
    • The westbound I-90 ramp to East Mercer Way will be temporarily closed. Drivers will be detoured to Island Crest Way.
    • The northbound and southbound I-405 ramps to westbound I-90 will be temporarily closed. Drivers will be detoured east on I-90 to 148th Avenue S.E. and turned around to travel west on I-90.
    • The southbound Bellevue Way general purpose or HOV on-ramp to westbound I-90 will be temporarily closed. The ramps will not be closed at the same time. When the general purpose ramp is closed, all drivers may use the HOV ramp.

After the traffic shift is complete the following lanes and ramps will be affected around-the–clock through 5 a.m. Friday, July 25:

  • Closed:
    • All but one lane of westbound I-90 between I-405 and Bellevue Way.
    • The three right lanes across the East Channel Bridge to East Mercer Way.
    • The Bellevue Way general purpose ramp to westbound I-90. All drivers will use the HOV ramp.
    • The southbound I-405 HOV ramp to westbound I-90. All drivers will use the general purpose ramp.
  • Open: 
    • The three left lanes across the bridge itself. The interstate returns to its normal configuration near East Mercer Way.
    • The Bellevue Way HOV ramp to westbound I-90 (open to all drivers).
    • The southbound I-405 general purpose ramp to westbound I-90.
    • The exit to East Mercer Way.
    • The HOV lanes between I-405 and the entrance to the I-90 express lanes are open to all.
    • The I-90 express lanes are open to HOV only at the entrance near East Mercer Way.
    • The pedestrian/bike path is open.

Construction progress
During the weekend, the contractor crews removed the left half of two bridge expansion joints. The work required them to chip through concrete a foot deep, and create a hole measuring 43 feet long and 6 feet wide.

This allowed them to set the first half of two expansion joints in place, connect them to the bridge and pour new concrete.

Stage two is expected to take longer since the expansion joints that will be set on the right need to be welded to the joints placed over the weekend. The welding is expected to take 25 to 30 hours.

Know before you go
During this critical work to maintain the safety of the bridge, drivers are encouraged to find alternate routes, carpool, vanpool, telecommute, delay discretionary trips and allow plenty of extra time. The closure will affect much of the highway system this week as commuters find new ways around. Drivers should expect extra congestion on I-405, SR 520, nearby surface streets and even I-5.

  • The WSDOT blog will provide regular updates about the closure, traffic trouble spots, and advice to get around.
  • The Seattle traffic page contains updated road information including links to traffic cameras.
  • The travel alerts website provides real-time information about blocking incidents.
  • WSDOT’s mobile app offers information for travelers on the go.
  • @Wsdot_Traffic will provide updates about this project using the hashtag #I90to1
  • 5-1-1 offers traffic updates.
  • The What’s Happening Now page chronicles closures and issues affecting travelers.

Special events
Drivers should also be aware that Tuesday may be an especially difficult day due to a visit by President Barack Obama.

The Mariners also begin a 7 game home stand on Monday, July 21 against the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles.

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