Bart Treece, WSDOT communications, 206-440-4473
Major test to come Monday morning during weekday commute
MERCER ISLAND – Weekend traffic flowed smoothly for the majority of the weekend despite westbound Interstate 90 being reduced to just a single lane at Bellevue Way for major expansion joint repair.
The next big hurdle for drivers comes Monday morning when thousands of people must return to work.
“Drivers can’t let their guard down,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Mark Bandy, “We still have four more days to get through and more drivers will be on the road tomorrow. We still need travelers to stay engaged, stagger their commutes, use alternate routes and allow extra time.”
Tonight, contractor crews working for WSDOT are expected to shift traffic to the left, and begin work on the joints located along the right lanes of I-90. This traffic shift will mark the beginning of the second stage of the project to replace two deteriorating 33-year-old expansion joints. Contractor crews will begin reconfiguring the work zone at 10 p.m. and temporarily close several ramps to I-90 overnight:
After the traffic shift is complete the following lanes and ramps will be affected around-the–clock through 5 a.m. Friday, July 25:
During the weekend, the contractor crews removed the left half of two bridge expansion joints. The work required them to chip through concrete a foot deep, and create a hole measuring 43 feet long and 6 feet wide.
This allowed them to set the first half of two expansion joints in place, connect them to the bridge and pour new concrete.
Stage two is expected to take longer since the expansion joints that will be set on the right need to be welded to the joints placed over the weekend. The welding is expected to take 25 to 30 hours.
Know before you go
During this critical work to maintain the safety of the bridge, drivers are encouraged to find alternate routes, carpool, vanpool, telecommute, delay discretionary trips and allow plenty of extra time. The closure will affect much of the highway system this week as commuters find new ways around. Drivers should expect extra congestion on I-405, SR 520, nearby surface streets and even I-5.
Drivers should also be aware that Tuesday may be an especially difficult day due to a visit by President Barack Obama.
The Mariners also begin a 7 game home stand on Monday, July 21 against the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles.