State prepares for July work on I-90 bridge
By REPORTER STAFF
Mercer Island Reporter Staff
June 23, 2009 · Updated 4:42 PM
The closure of the westbound I-90 mainline across the floating bridge is less than two weeks away, and WSDOT has new tools for commuters to avoid construction congestion. WSDOT traffic engineer Brian Dobbins said hour-long backups are possible between Issaquah and Seattle during construction.
WSDOT is replacing cracked expansion joints on westbound I-90 and the express lanes across the floating bridge. Engineers say the joints could pose a safety concern if not replaced. WSDOT replaced the joints in the express lanes from May 4-16. The work in the westbound I-90 lanes begins on July 5 for up to three weeks. More information is available online.
“Bumper-to-bumper traffic from Issaquah to Seattle is possible all day long during this project unless enough drivers change their habits,” Dobbins said. “Drivers will wait in line just to get to the on-ramp.”
WSDOT recently added new tools to its Web site to help drivers plan their commutes and help avoid severe congestion on Puget Sound freeways in July.
New traffic cameras
WSDOT traffic engineers have added five more cameras to the traffic flow map along I-90 so that drivers can check the backups before they leave home. The cameras are located at Front Street, 161st Avenue S.E., East Mercer Way, Shorewood Drive and Island Crest Way.
Travel time graphs
Commuters can print out a handy graph for their glove boxes, showing the best and worst times to travel I-90 during construction. WSDOT traffic engineers expect the worst westbound I-90 congestion between 6 – 11 a.m. and 3 – 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends.
Mercer Island detour map
Only two westbound I-90 on-ramps will be available for Mercer Island drivers in July – 77th Avenue S.E. and Island Crest Way. WSDOT worked closely with Mercer Island city officials to plan detour routes to keep traffic moving as much as possible. Drivers on the Island can expect half-mile backups and 15-minute delays getting onto the freeway if enough Mercer Island drivers change their commute time or method.
Businesses can download several items to warn their employees about this major roadwork, including a poster, flyer, photos, videos and pre-written newsletter stories.
WSDOT will soon build two temporary bridges to keep the bike and pedestrian path open during construction. WSDOT’s Web site has resources for new bicycle commuters, such as bike route maps.
During construction, WSDOT will send real-time traffic conditions via Twitter. Commuters can sign up to receive the information while in their vehicles to help them choose their routes once they leave home.Contact Mercer Island Reporter Staff Reporter Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.