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I-90 - WB East Channel Bridge Expansion Joint Repair

Project map of the work area and location.
Click to view larger version of project map.

one of two damaged expansion joints on WB I-90. Crews will replace two joints like this one on the I-90 East Channel Bridge between Mercer Island and Bellevue.

A damaged expansion joint on westbound I-90 East Channel Bridge.
Permanently replacing the joints will lessen the chance for unexpected emergency repairs.


April 2014

  • Work is expected to begin in July 2014 and wrap up in late August 2014.
  • This project was awarded to Mowat Construction on Nov. 12, 2013. 
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In July 2014, crews will replace two worn out expansion joints and repair a damaged support beam on the westbound Interstate 90 East Channel Bridge over Lake Washington. Thousands of commuters, freight haulers and travelers heading to Seattle from Bellevue use this bridge every day. The project helps keep this heavily relied upon route in good working order.

Replacing the expansion joints will help keep drivers safe by eliminating the ongoing need for emergency repairs and preserve the expected life of the bridge.

What can drivers expect? 

Drivers can expect nightly lane and ramp closures as the contractor crews prepare the bridge for the full expansion joint replacement work. The actual replacement work will take place in two stages over seven days. It will require around-the-clock closures of up to three lanes of westbound I-90 and several ramps.

  • Stage one:
  • The three left lanes of westbound I-90 closed from Friday night to the following Friday morning
  • The three right lanes will remain open at all times
  • The Bellevue Way HOV on-ramp to westbound I-90 closed around-the-clock.
  • The southbound I-405 HOV ramp to westbound I-90 closed around-the-clock
  • Stage 2: (expected to occur midway through the seven-day closure)
    • The three right lanes of westbound I-90 closed around-the-clock for the remainder of the seven-day continuous closure, through Friday morning.
    • The three left lanes will remain open.
    • The Bellevue Way general purpose on-ramp to westbound I-90 will be closed around-the-clock.
  • The southbound I-405 HOV ramp to westbound I-90 closed around-the-clock
  • Why is WSDOT replacing two expansion joints on westbound I-90 at the East Channel Bridge?

    The original expansion joints were built in 1981 and have reached the end of their useful life. In 2001, WSDOT crews found water leaking into both expansion joints because of broken synthetic rubber seals. Leaking has allowed water and contaminants to flow onto the bottom of the bridge’s girders, which has led to deterioration of the concrete and steel underneath the bridge. Maintenance crews have made several emergency repairs since February 2012 to repair the steel structural elements. Over the years, weather and increasing traffic have steadily worn out both expansion joints. When the joints are worn out, we can’t predict when they may need emergency repairs and stop traffic.

    Expansion joints are important to the way a bridge functions. They allow sections of bridge to expand and contract with temperature change and different traffic loads. Failing expansion joints are a safety hazard to drivers and can cause a bridge to bend, crack, or even collapse. A permanent fix can’t be put off any longer.

    The End Result

    Crews will replace the two 33-year old expansion joints on the westbound I-90 East Channel Bridge. The new joints are expected to last the remaining life of the bridge with minimal need for maintenance. These improvements will help to maintain the bridge’s structural integrity and improve driver safety.

    Project Benefits
    • Safety - Pavement improvements and new expansion joints improve the driving surface, which lessens the risk of vehicle damage and possible collisions caused by traffic backups.
    • Maintenance – New expansion joints keep traffic moving across I-90 by helping to eliminate emergency repairs.
    • Preservation - New, stronger expansion joints extend the life of the roadway.

    What is the project timeline?

    October, 7 2013 – Contract advertised to contractors
    November 12, 2013 - Project awarded to Mowat Construction
    July 2014 – Construction begins
    August 2014 – Construction ends

    Financial Information

    Financial Data for PIN 310117H
    Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
    2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
    2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
    Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $8,794
    Total $8,794

    Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.

    How can I get more information?

    Hien Trinh
    WSDOT Project Engineer

    Kris Olsen
    WSDOT Communications

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