Local Information

Approaching the finish line: New I-90 HOV lanes scheduled to open first weekend in June

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 10:32

Annie Johnson, WSDOT communications, 206-716-1165
Rachelle Cunningham, Sound Transit communications, 206-398-5069

Express lanes will close permanently to vehicle traffic the weekend of June 3  

SEATTLE – In less than two weeks, people who use Interstate 90 between Seattle and Bellevue will see a big change. New around-the-clock HOV lanes will open in each direction on Sunday, June 4.

Once the new HOV lanes open to traffic, the I-90 express lanes will permanently close, and Sound Transit will begin to construct the 14-mile East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience the past two years,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Project Engineer Aleta Borschowa. “We are excited to wrap up work on the new HOV lanes that will provide transit, carpools and vanpools a more reliable commute that doesn’t depend on the direction of the express lanes.”

Before the new HOV lanes open to traffic, a final test of the Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnel operations systems is needed, which will require two 12-hour overnight directional closures on I-90 next week:

9 p.m. Friday, June 2, to 9 a.m. Saturday, June 3
Eastbound I-90 will reduced to a single lane near Rainier Avenue. Eastbound traffic will be rerouted to the express lanes.

9 p.m. Saturday, June 3, to 9 a.m. Sunday, June 4 
Westbound I-90 will be reduced to a single lane near Bellevue Way. Westbound traffic will be rerouted to the express lanes.

Special events

Drivers should plan their travels around several special events happening in the Seattle area.

Friday, June 2

  • Seattle Mariners vs. Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field, 7:10 p.m.

Saturday, June 3

  • Seattle Mariners vs. Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field, 7:10 p.m.

Sunday, June 4

  • Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Seattle Center, 6 a.m.
  • Seattle Mariners vs. Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field, 1:10 p.m.
  • Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field, 7 p.m.

The first weekday commute

Commuters are encouraged to give themselves extra time to get to their destinations on Monday, June 5. This will mark the first commute with the new HOV lanes and without the I-90 express lanes.

“Any time we make a change to the roadway, it takes time for things to settle into their new patterns,” said WSDOT Traffic Engineer Mike Swires. “We expect it will take several months for new traffic patterns to emerge on I-90.” 

Before hitting the road, drivers can track their commute route with real-time traffic information on their phone with the WSDOT traffic app and checking out the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed.

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