I-90 set for decade of construction: Groundbreaking ceremony is April 14

City Councilmembers listened as WSDOT and Sound Transit staff updated them on the I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project, which has already begun.

According to WSDOT and Sound Transit representatives, the project goal is “to improve regional mobility by providing safe and reliable two-way transit on I-90 between Bellevue and Seattle.” It is the prelude to light rail’s East Link (set to open in 2020) across I-90 and Mercer Island.

Over the next several years, WSDOT will introduce full-time HOV lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic on the outer I-90 roadways, representatives said. The existing reversible lane operations in the center roadway will be retained until East Link light rail construction is ready to begin.

The project is being implemented in stages due to the timing and availability of funding. The first stage, improvements to westbound I-90 from Bellevue to Mercer Island, was completed in October.

Stage two includes improvements to eastbound I-90, from Mercer Island to Bellevue. Construction will occur between 2012 and 2014. An eastbound HOV lane will be added to the outer roadway from 80th Avenue S.E. to Bellevue Way. The existing reversible HOV ramp at 80th Avenue will be changed to an eastbound HOV on-ramp connecting to the new I-90 HOV lane.

Stage three has been designed to improve eastbound and westbound I-90, Seattle and Mercer Island. Construction will include more HOV lane work and an eastbound HOV direct access exit ramp at 77th Avenue S.E. between 2012 and 2014.

Construction on the East Link rail across I-90 and through Mercer Island is scheduled to begin in 2013. WSDOT estimates that East Link will be completed in 2021.

WSDOT and Sound Transit invite Islanders to attend the project’s “stage two ground-breaking” at the Mercer Island Boat Launch on April 14 at 1 p.m. For more, visit

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