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I-90 closures begin for ‘smart highways’

Drivers traveling on I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue may notice what drivers on I-5 and SR-520 have seen for several months — new sign bridges popping up.

Over the next two weeks, crews will close I-90 between I-5 and I-405 overnight as they lift 17 sign bridges into place.

These new structures are the first visible part of Smarter Highways on I-90. The new traffic management system features a network of sensors and electronic signs that will provide drivers with information to move traffic more effectively.

“Drivers have probably noticed the new electronic signs on northbound I-5 in south Seattle that we’ll activate later this summer,” said Craig Stone, WSDOT Division Director. “This work is a good reminder that Smarter Highways is also coming to I-90 next spring.”

Drivers headed for east or westbound I-90 between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. should be prepared for delays and detours on the following nights this week:

On Tuesday, crews closed eastbound I-90 between I-5 and I-405, and detoured traffic onto the I-90 express lanes. They will also close the ramps to eastbound I-90 from northbound I-5, Rainier Avenue S., Island Crest Way, E. Mercer Way, Bellevue Way and the eastbound I-90 transit lane.

Wednesday, May 19: Crews will close westbound I-90 at S.E. 37th Street and detour traffic onto S.E. Eastgate Way, west on Richards Road and back to westbound I-90.

Thursday, May 20: Crews will close eastbound I-90 at Richards Road and detour traffic onto Richards Road, S.E. 36th Street and to 150th Avenue to return to eastbound I-90. They will also close the ramps to eastbound I-90 from north and southbound I-405, Bellevue Way and the 142nd Place S.E. HOV ramp.

Drivers should also plan ahead for overnight closures on segments of westbound I-90 between I-405 and I-5 next week, Monday, May 24, to Thursday, May 27.

Crews will also activate the high-tech signs on I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue in spring 2011.

Washington is one of the first states to implement cutting-edge Smarter Highways technology that uses real-time traffic information to improve safety and reduce congestion.

For more information about the Smarter Highways sign, see a recent story in the Reporter at www.mi-reporter.com or go to: www.smarterhighways.com.

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