Westbound I-90 down to one lane all week

Westbound I-90 down to one lane all week

Credit: KING

Westbound I-90 down to one lane all week

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by ELIZABETH WILEY and TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 20 at 7:54 PM

In a nutshell:

  • Westbound I-90 down to one lane between Bellevue Way SE and I-405, July 18 at 9:30 pm - July 25 at 5:00 a.m.
  • Only good alternates: SR 520 or drive around on I-405. 520 tolls will still be in effect.
  • If 60 percent of drivers divert from I-90, Bellevue-to-Seattle drive time could still reach more than an hour.
     

The Washington State Department of Transportation is putting out the warning: Drivers coming west over Interstate 90 into Seattle may want to look for a new route for the week or stay home.

The stretch of freeway between Interstate 405 and Bellevue Way Southeast will be down to one lane around-the-clock starting at 9:30 p.m. on July 18 through 5 a.m. on July 25.

Traffic over the weekend was manageable, but come Monday, that could change.

Related: Download the KING 5 traffic app

Related: 3 big events happening during closure: Why now?

Related: Road rage a concern during closure

Crews are replacing two 33-year-old expansion joints, each 92 feet long, on the East Channel Bridge. A week of closures is needed because of the size of the joints, which are also deeply embedded in the bridge deck.

On Saturday night, the DOT reported that crews completed installation of half of each of the two new expansion joints.

WSDOT says even if 60 percent of drivers divert to a different route thisweek, the drive time from Bellevue-to-Seattle could still be more than an hour at peak times, as indicated by this chart.

Traffic engineers estimate the best times to travel will be before 6 a.m., between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and after 7 p.m.

KING 5 traffic reporter Tracy Taylor says your only good options for alternate routes are State Route 520 or driving around Lake Washington on I-405. Otherwise, you can expect extremely long backups on side streets.

Related: Alternate routes for WB I-90 closure

Related: I-90 traffic flow and cameras

Tolls on the SR 520 bridge will still be in effect. WSDOT says the state transportation commision sets those and no exemptions have been made for the project. Contact Transportation Commission

Here's a look at the closure schedule, which will occur in two stages:

Stage one
• Crews will close the three left lanes of westbound I-90 between I-405 and Bellevue Way Southeast.
• Westbound I-90 will narrow down to just one lane at Bellevue Way Southeast and widen to three lanes just before the East Channel Bridge.
• The Bellevue Way HOV on-ramp to westbound I-90 will be closed around-the-clock. All drivers will use the general purpose on-ramp.
• The southbound I-405 ramp to westbound I-90 will be closed around-the-clock. All drivers will use the general purpose on-ramp.


Stage two
• The three right lanes will be closed between I-405 and Bellevue Way Southeast.
• Westbound I-90 will remain just one lane near Bellevue Way Southeast and widen to three lanes just before the East Channel Bridge.
• 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 will be closed around-the-clock.



Crews will also replace the expansion joint over the bicycle/pedestrian path on I-90. The path will remain open during the day, but pedestrians and cyclists may experience nightly delays of up to five minutes.

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