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I-90 construction alerts
Nightly closures: Dec. 15-19
The Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit are closing lanes on westbound I-90 as they begin designing and planning to add new HOV lanes to the outer roadway between Seattle and Bellevue and new direct-access on- and off-ramps on the Island. Nightly closures are taking place this week as below:
• Monday, Dec. 15 to Friday, Dec. 19 — Crews will close the left lane of westbound I-90 from Bellevue Way S.E. to Rainier Avenue South from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for electrical work.
• Monday, Dec. 15 to Friday, Dec. 19 — Crews will close a single lane of the I-90 express lanes from Bellevue Way S.E. to Rainier Avenue South from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for electrical work.
I-90/405 Interchange construction improvements
Westbound I-90 will be closed nightly, including the on-ramp from Richards Road as part of the I-405 South Bellevue Widening project, which will help relieve congestion at one of the worst I-405 bottlenecks and the drive in and out of downtown Bellevue.
• Tuesday, Dec. 16 to Friday, Dec. 19 — Crews will close all lanes of westbound I-90 at I-405 nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to prepare a new southbound I-405 bridge to carry traffic.
• Tuesday, Dec. 16 to Friday, Dec. 19 - Crews will close the on-ramp to westbound I-90 from Richards Road nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to prepare a new southbound I-405 bridge to carry traffic.
New on-ramp opens Tuesday
Southboud traffic on I-405 will use a new freeway bridge over I-90 starting the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 16.
Traffic will transition to the new 900-foot-long southbound bridge in phases, according to WSDOT officials. Initially, the new bridge will carry two of three southbound I-405 lanes, but the carpool lane will remain on the existing southbound bridge. The phased opening and lane separation are necessary to create a safe work zone for more construction near the bridge.
According to WSDOT’s annual report on highway congestion, published in November, the section of I-405 freeway from Tukwila to Bellevue remains the most congested commute in the state.
The new configuration will feel different to drivers, however.
“It will take time to get used to this temporary configuration,” said Seema Javeri, WSDOT Project Engineer, “so drivers traveling southbound on I-405 should prepare for minor delays for the first few days of their commute.”
Javeri expects that after commuters drive over the bridge a few times, they will become familiar with it and drive accordingly. Until then, drivers should proceed with caution, she added.
By next summer, crews expect to wrap up bridge improvements and then shift the southbound carpool lane to the new bridge. That will free up the existing bridge to carry an additional northbound lane.
The work is part of the I-405 South Bellevue Widening project that adds one northbound lane between 112th Avenue S.E. and S.E. Eighth Street, and two southbound lanes from S.E. Eighth to I-90. To date, WSDOT has delivered 30 percent of the nearly $1.5 billion in I-405 investments and is on track to reach 44 percent by the end of the 07-09 biennium.
For more information and a diagram of the new traffic configuration, go to the project's Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/i405.