WSDOT to modify construction schedule to mitigate traffic impacts on MI
January 31, 2012 · 4:57 PM
Update on efforts to mitigate traffic backups on Mercer Island related to the 80th Avenue S.E. express lane ramp closure for I-90 Two-Way Transit/HOV Ops Stage 2:
The 80th Avenue ramp will reopen for normal transit/HOV operations Wednesday afternoon.
- At 3 p.m. Wednesday, WSDOT will reopen the reversible 80th Avenue S.E. ramp to the I-90 express lanes eastbound for transit and carpools. The ramp will remain open for three or four weeks, functioning as a reversible center-roadway access ramp, just as it did prior to closing Jan. 23.
- The ramp will close again to all traffic in three to four weeks, when crews realign the ramp with a new HOV lane in mainline eastbound I-90. After two or three days of final work, and the ramp will reopen for transit and HOV-only direct-access to a new HOV lane on the eastbound I-90 mainline. It will no longer be reversible.
- Eastbound I-90 traffic volume rapidly increased Monday afternoon and remained high through the evening commute. In addition to the influx of commuters avoiding SR-520, a collision blocked one lane on eastbound I-90 at E. Mercer Way shortly before 4 p.m. It quickly moved to the gore point and remained there with rescue vehicles for about an hour, blocking the right lane and part of the E. Mercer on-ramp. It caused serious backups to Seattle.
- About 3 p.m. Monday, WSDOT reopened the 80th Avenue S.E. ramp for buses only onto the I-90 Express Lanes (eastbound).
- WSDOT’s contractor removed barriers in the gore point at Island Crest Way to lengthen the merge and pushed back the barriers on the south side to widen the ramp.
- The contractor will remove barriers on eastbound I-90 as crews finish each section west to east, from 80thacross the East Channel Bridge.
- After adjusting ramp meters to improve flow on and off the Island, traffic engineers are taking a second look at the Island Crest Way on-ramp meter to ensure it reflects current traffic levels.
- WSDOT will continue to monitor traffic closely and work with the city, Sound Transit and Metro to respond to changing conditions quickly and efficiently.