Previous westbound I-90/Bellevue Way Interchange configuration. See larger version.
Current westbound I-90/Bellevue Way Interchange configuration. See larger version.
On Oct. 10, 2008 westbound I-90 carpoolers, vanpoolers and transit began traveling in a new HOV lane between Bellevue and Mercer Island. With the new lane came a number of changes for drivers.
For those driving on westbound I-90 from east of I-405 or entering westbound I-90 from northbound I-405:
- A double white line now separates the HOV lane from the adjacent general purpose lane between Bellevue Way and the entrance to the center roadway. This double white line prevents last second merging and weaving before the center roadway entrance. Crossing the double lines could mean a citation and a fine.
- Carpools, vanpools and transit should merge into the HOV lane before Bellevue Way SE to ensure they can enter the I-90 center roadway entrance at E. Mercer Way.
For drivers entering westbound I-90 at Bellevue Way SE:
- Carpools, vanpools and transit can take the new direct access ramp and enter I-90 in the HOV lane without having to merge across three lanes of traffic.
- The double white line will restrict access from the HOV onramp to E. Mercer Way because of the short merging distance. Vehicles wishing to exit at E. Mercer Way should use the general purpose ramp.
- Both lanes on the existing two-lane on-ramp from Bellevue Way to westbound I-90 will be metered. There is no longer an HOV bypass lane on this ramp.
Drivers should watch for new signs and pay attention to new areas where vehicles will be merging.
The new HOV lane is a hallmark of the first stage of WSDOT and Sound Transit’s I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations Project. The new lane will keep traffic moving by increasing the number of westbound lanes from four to five between Bellevue Way and E. Mercer Way, and from three to four between E. Mercer Way and 80th Avenue SE.
Once all three stages of construction are complete, these improvements will add safe, all-day, HOV lanes on I-90 between Bellevue and Seattle while preserving the number of general purpose lanes.