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New hours for I-90 express lanes reflect efficiency

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Date:  Friday, August 31, 2012

Contact: Mark Leth, WSDOT regional traffic engineer, 206-440-4487 (Shoreline)
Bart Treece, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4473 (Shoreline)

SEATTLE – Smarter highways doesn’t always mean computers; in this case, it’s people. With a small adjustment to the Interstate 90 express-lane schedule, maintenance crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation will be able to focus more time and attention to high-tech systems that keep area highways moving.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, WSDOT will open the I-90 express lanes to westbound traffic at 6 a.m., five hours later than before. Crews used to open the lanes at 1 a.m., but that was when it took two separate crews to switch both the Interstate 5 and I-90 express lanes. Now that the I-5 lanes are automated, it will only take one crew to switch both. The same crew that performs a safety sweep of the I-5 lanes will also switch I-90.

“This change is going to free up workers to focus on high-priority roadway maintenance projects, like keeping our cameras, data stations and overheads signs working,” said WSDOT Regional Traffic Engineer Mark Leth. “This will make a huge difference for us in terms of efficiency.”

Westbound I-90 traffic is very light early in the morning and traffic backups typically do not occur until well past 6 a.m. each morning.

New I-90 express-lane schedule
Weekdays: The I-90 express lanes will open to westbound traffic from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The lanes will open to eastbound travel from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Weekend: The I-90 express lanes will open to eastbound traffic from 2 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. the following Monday. In the event of a large sporting event, such as a football game, the lanes’ schedule will be adjusted to accommodate the extra traffic coming into Seattle.

Hyperlinks within the news release:
• I-5 – Express-Lane Automation
• I-5 and I-90 Express Lanes

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