News

Closures and crowds for Seafair this weekend

By Reporter staff

Expect things to get loud and crowded on Mercer Island this week. The city is preparing to deal with the annual summer Seafair festival, with its air show and hydroplane races, not to mention the Interstate 90 bridge closures, this weekend.

Bridge closures, detours and congestion

The I-90 floating bridges across Lake Washington will be closed several times between Thursday, Aug. 4, and Sunday, Aug. 7, for the Navy Blue Angels to practice and perform for the Seafair airshow.

The Washington State Department of Transportation closes I-90 between Mercer Island and Seattle to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules to create a safe environment by reducing distractions for both motorists and Blue Angel pilots.

All I-90 lanes between Island Crest Way on Mercer Island and Interstate 5 in Seattle will be closed. The bridge will also close to pedestrians and bicyclists up to 30 minutes before the closure times.

Motorists who want to ensure crossing the lake on I-90 should do so at least an hour before the announced closure times. No stopping or parking is allowed on the bridges.

On-ramps to westbound I-90 at East Mercer Way, 76th Avenue S.E. and West Mercer Way, as well as the eastbound off-ramp at West Mercer Way, will close up to 30 minutes prior to closure times. The center HOV lanes will close up to two hours before closure times. The off-ramps from westbound I-90 at Island Crest Way and East Mercer Way will remain open during the closures.

The westbound exit ramp off of I-90 at East Mercer Way will be split into two lanes -- one lane for local traffic and one for traffic to detour back onto eastbound I-90. The eastbound exit ramp at West Mercer Way will remain closed for approximately 20 minutes after the I-90 bridge reopens to help ease congestion on surface streets.

Mercer Island officials expect north-end surface streets to be heavily congested during the bridge closures, as vehicles will be detoured through the Town Center. Ongoing construction in the Town Center may result in partial lane blockages or other detours. The city's Development Services Group and police are working with contractors to minimize additional vehicle delays.

Parking and viewing airshow, hydroplanes

The Park on the Lid and the street-end parks along 60th Avenue S.E. in the East Seattle neighborhood -- Proctor and Garfield landings, and Slater Park -- are expected to be crowded with people viewing the practice shows.

City officials ask the public to be mindful of private property and not to block driveways, mailboxes, fire hydrants, intersections or crosswalks. The city Parks and Recreation Department recommends that spectators viewing the Blue Angels and hydroplane races to park in designated parking areas at the Park on the Lid.

Calkins Landing will be closed to the public and used for emergency services during Seafair.

Boating

Boaters should be aware that extra safety and security patrols will be in effect during the four days of Seafair. Routine vessel stops will be made to ensure compliance with safety and equipment regulations.

There is a no wake security zone in effect all day Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7, until 6 p.m. each evening. The zone is strictly enforced from south of the I-90 floating bridge to the Bailey Peninsula of Seward Park.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends wearing life jackets, observing speed limits and carrying proper safety equipment. Vessels that are overloaded and have insufficient lifejackets on board will be boarded, cited and taken to the nearest shore. For more boating information, please visit

www.boatwashington.org on the Internet.

For a complete schedule of Seafair events, please visit www.seafair.com.

Sidebar: I-90 bridge closures

All lanes between Island Crest Way and Seattle will be closed. The bridge will also close to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Thursday, Aug. 4

? Noon to 12:45 p.m.

? 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 5

? 11:20 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 6

? 11:20 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 7

? 11:20 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

For the most complete and up-to-date closure times, call the I-90 bridge closure hotline at 206-236-7690.

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